Editorial: Be careful who you vote for! And remember if you are entitled to vote, you must vote. Don’t waste the opportunity and allow politicians to get an easy ride over LGBT matters!
Reprinted from the Mirror – 16:54, 23 April 2015 By Federica Cocco
The DUP might end up in government with the Tory party – 10 reasons we should be afraid
The Tories have been jumping up and down about the possibility of the SNP ending up in a coalition with Labour, but they have been strangely silent on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) potentially holding the balance of power.
But if the Tories win a sufficient number of seats, DUP MPs may be pivotal in forming government, as their leader Peter Robinson said yesterday.
A 12% chance the DUP will end up in government
That’s according to an analysis by the Financial Times.
They currently hold eight seats and are expected to win between eight and ten seats. Not a lot; but it’s more than UKIP are predicted to get (four or five). And given that the race is so close, the DUP could easily play kingmaker.
Conservative MP Mel Stride blew a straw in the wind when he wrote on Conservativehome.com: “an alliance of sorts [with the DUP] could offer those vital additional seats that might make all the difference to our prospects for continuing to govern.”
Last year David Cameron hosted “a lavish reception” in Downing Street in their honour.
So what will the DUP be bringing to the negotiating table?
1. They want to legalise discrimination against LGBT people
Paul Givan – DUP member of the Northern Ireland Assembly – has drafted a private member’s bill which would allow business to deny services to any LGBT people on the grounds of religion.
It’s been put for consultation but the party hasn’t “laid” it yet, which means they are yet to submit it to be scheduled for discussion in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
If this becomes law, gay people in Northern Ireland could be refused simple, basic services like booking a table in a restaurant, renting a room for a night or even buying food.
The Rainbow Project said that what is known as the conscience clause would “create a licence to discriminate” against gay people.
And just in case you think this is just one man’s crusade, bear in mind the DUP leader Peter Robinson backs the bill.
We asked the DUP about the bill and they confirmed that “the party supports the broad proposal”.
A DUP spokesperson told us Givan’s consultation document was intended to “start a discussion” but no firm proposals are on the table yet.
2. Homophobia is deep-rooted within the party
In 1977 Rev. Ian Paisley – founder of the DUP – launched campaign “Save Ulster from Sodomy” to lobby against the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
His son Ian Paisley Jr has inherited his father’s values. In 2007 he said he was “repulsed” by homosexuals. On Question Time last year he defended the comments, adding “Christians are scared off about expressing this sort of view.”
In 2008 Unionist politician Iris Robinson was investigated for hate crime after saying homosexuality was disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile. No charges were brought.
She also stated in Parliament that homosexuality is “viler” than child sex abuse. That was when she served as the party’s spokeswoman for health.
She believes gay people “can be turned around” through counselling and therapy.
3. They don’t exactly champion women’s rights
In fact they actively thwart them.
Abortion is notoriously still illegal in Northern Ireland and unlike other parts of the UK it’s governed by criminal law, i.e. the Offences against the Person Act and the 1945 Criminal Justice Act.
It’s not allowed after rape or incest or in case of fatal foetus abnormality; and doctors can only terminate pregnancies to save a woman’s life or to avoid permanent and serious damage to her health.
When in 2012 a Marie Stopes abortion clinic opened in Belfast, the DUP voted in favour of closing it.
They sunk and still “oppose a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights” which would have extended access to the procedure to Northern Ireland but the DUP resolutely opposes it.
In 2013 a total of 802 women came from Northern Ireland to terminate their pregnancies.
4. They think schools should teach creationism
Paul Givan, once again.
The politician – who believes in creationism – put forward a motion in the Assembly calling for schools in Lisburn to teach alternatives to the theory of evolution.
5. They oppose gay marriage
In the last legislation, the DUP blocked the gay marriage bill from passing in Northern Ireland THREE TIMES. Civil partnerships are legal in Northern Ireland, but that law was passed before the DUP came into power.
6. They want to ban begging
Their 2011 manifesto pledged to “rigorously enforce legislation against begging.”
7. They hate the BBC
Their manifesto calls for a freeze in the BBC licence fee to be followed by either its significant reduction or abolition.
8. They support the death penalty
In 2011 a group of DUP MPs tabled a motion to discuss the death penalty at the House of Commons.
Who’s to say that giving them a place in government wouldn’t lend legitimacy to their policy ideas?
If UKIP also ends up being part of a Tory-lead coalition, the death penalty will most likely be brought up again in Parliament.
9. They could become besties with UKIP
They have some policies in common with Nigel Farage’s party, most notably the fact that holding a referendum on European Union membership is a red line condition for any coalition agreement.
But they’re also dead set on increasing defence spending to 2% of GDP, and some senior members – such as the former Environment Minister – have called man-made climate change “a con”. He won’t have any trouble bonding with the likes of Roger Helmer or Paul Nuttall.
10. In fact they will probably win more MPs than UKIP
While UKIP is only expected to get between one and five seats, the DUP will definitely secure at least seven or eight.
Without the shadow of a doubt, in the event of a Tory-led Coalition or minority government David Cameron’s party will need the DUP’s votes to hold the government together.
The Tories have made no secret of this and have already begun wooing senior DUP politicians.
Any Government with the DUP will need to acquiesce to at least some of its deeply-held convictions.
Michael Fallon called the SNP’s manifesto “the most expensive ransom note in history”, but the DUP’s wishlist is no joke either.
Voters should be aware of what they’re in for.
[Sources: Pink News, Open Democracy, Conservative Home, FT]
Who would you rather ended up in government?
Why not write and let us know!
Editorial: The elections are here, and as I have written before, you need to be careful for whom you vote. Mr Dodds, a right-wing Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland politician, has not denied that on a Newsnight debate that his party would want a coalition to “reject gay rights”. Other parties also have agendas regarding the LGBT community – find out what they are before you vote.
Militant Christian preachers want to ‘cure’ Britain’s gay people with controversial conversion therapy
Reprinted from the Mirror website:
20:30, 18 April 2015 By Boudicca Fox-Leonard
Delegates paid £20 to attend a conference on ‘anti-gay’ therapy in London, where they heard a series of homophobic talks by professionally-accredited therapists
Hardline Christian counsellors say they aim to “cure” Britain’s gays – despite experts branding their treatments potentially harmful.
Our reporter attended a shocking conference on “anti-gay” therapy in Central London this week.
Delegates paid £20 to hear a series of homophobic talks by professionally accredited therapists from several Christian groups.
One likened homosexuality to incest, while another put it in the same bracket as paedophilia.
They told the audience Britain is “in need of redemption” and would be condemned to hell if it failed to stop the rising gay population.
Shocking: The conference was held at the Emmanuel Centre in London
One Christian counsellor, Dr Robert Gagnon, said: “What we are encountering in society now is nothing less than totalitarian thuggery under the guise of love.”
Two of the organisations – The Core Issues Trust and Christian Concern – are registered charities, giving them tax breaks despite their controversial views.
In January, 14 organisations including the British Psychological Society and the NHS endorsed the Government’s memorandum of understanding on conversion therapy.
It said the practice was potentially “damaging” and agreed not to refer people conflicted about their sexuality for “gay cures”.
The Association of Christian Counsellors also signed up.
But at the conference, named Transformation Potential, the association’s John Nightingale revealed his organisation and sister groups still supported the practice.
Speaking at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, he said the restrictions had put them on a “knife edge” but they would continue regardless, renouncing their accreditation if necessary.
He said: “If it tightened up any more, I have a pretty sure understanding that as an organisation we would step out and become one of the non-registered counselling organisations.
“It might affect my standing in the family of counsellors but I’m happy to make that choice.”
Mike Davidson, of the Core Issues Trust, made headlines in 2013 after trying to advertise his conversion services on London buses.
He and others speaking at the conference rejected any genetic cause of homosexuality and linked it to “trauma” such as sexual abuse, bad father-son relationships, or a lack of masculinity.
Dr Davidson said: “Therapists get to do it regularly for people with adulterous desires or pornographic addiction or paedophilia.
“So is so-called sexual orientation some sacred turf that mustn’t be walked upon?”
James Holland, 47, went to the conference out of curiosity after a bad experience in the past.
He said: “I was alarmed by what I heard but I wasn’t surprised.”
James told how he had conversion counselling 20 years ago as he was unhappy about being gay.
He said: “We were told to be like a glass of water that you keep topping up with masculinity.”
Matt SprakeJames HollandCalls: James Holland who tried conversion counselling said such therapy should be banned
This included not crossing his legs as it was “feminine” and doing male activities like playing football.
He continued: “I was paired with a man in my church to have a healthy same-sex friendship with so I could top up my masculinity.
“I had a crush on my man and it produced so much stress in me I had a breakdown.”
James, of Walthamstow, sought non-Christian therapy and now accepts his homosexuality.
He added: “Gay conversion therapy needs to be banned.”
Last week, US President Barack Obama backed a campaign calling for a federal ban on the practice.
I am amazed to read in the News Letter (February 21) that the DUP cannot see how their attitude can help create an atmosphere leading to the homophobic attacks on Paul Finlay-Dickson and his late partner.
When they say that it’s a “right” for people with strongly held personal beliefs to “object” to people of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual sexual orientation they cannot control how everyone outworks that objection?
DUP politicians have said that they find Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual , Transgendered (LGBT) people repugnant, can’t even say when challenged that they don’t object to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and some wish that civil partnerships hadn’t happened, all merely piles coals on the fire of homophobia.
Liberal Democrats believe nobody should be enslaved by ignorance, but the way the DUP talks about homosexuality as a threat to Christianity is instilling a dangerous, venomous and intolerant ignorance into some.
Paul Givan by currently going around saying that LGBT rights are greater than those of Christians is not just incorrect but so widely off the mark, thanks mainly to the DUP blocking any steps allowing LGBT rights to advance towards equality.
The DUP talk about competing rights, but sadly they have historically fought to maintain that the rights of LGBT people are not to be anywhere near equal to those the majority of Northern Ireland, and also well behind LGBT people elsewhere in the UK.
Their historical talking down and belittling of LGBT people is exactly what can lead to some going about these homophobic attacks.
The DUP only pay lip service to the equality provisions of the Northern Ireland Act for those of differing sexual orientation and constantly fail in taking action or speaking in a way that reflects that LGBT people are of value. Now they look to dismantle accommodations that have been made to deal with those competing rights, focusing only on the rights as laid out in Human Rights legislation but ignoring the responsibilities to respect the rights of others in the same articles.
Changing Attitudes Ireland are right to point out the way the words and actions of the DUP fuel the environment of homophobia across the province, especially as the DUP fail completely to converse on such issues.
LGBT Plus, Liberal Democrats Executive