Today, The Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland’s largest support organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people welcomed the decision of DUP Health Minister Jim Wells MLA to resign from his post following his illogical and irrational comments about same-sex parenting at an election hustings in Downpatrick.
However, questions remain as to the DUPs position on issues relating to LGBT people. Director of The Rainbow Project John O’Doherty said “The most recent controversy surrounding Jim Wells MLA has shown that there is a difference of opinion on some of these issues within the DUP. The DUP as a party however, has never voted in support of any LGBT equality matters and as far as we know are still opposed to the decriminalisation of sex between two men.”
“In light of recent events we would encourage the DUP to use today’s debate on Equal Marriage in the Northern Ireland Assembly, to clarify their position on LGBT issues and to use the opportunity to apologise for the immense hurt, fear and suffering caused by their members remarks and positions over the last 40 years.”
“Northern Ireland’s acceptance of LGBT people has grown immeasurably over the last 15 years. We expect political leaders and especially government Ministers, to keep pace with public acceptance, uphold their obligations under the ministerial code and work with our community to create a society where all are treated with dignity and respect.”
“In recent months the DUP and others who share their views have been calling for dignity and respect for differing views between some Christians and the LGBT community. It is time for the DUP to show leadership on these issues and show dignity and respect for our community and issues which impact negatively on the health and well-being of too many.”
Notes to editors:
For further information please contact The Rainbow Project on 028 9031 9030