Colum Eastwood, the leader of the SDLP party in Northern Ireland, said it is “infuriating” that his gay brother is denied the same rights in Northern Ireland as he is. His younger brother Liam lives in London because he would be “treated as less” if he chose to make Northern Ireland his home.
He said the Irish and British governments need to push through reform of the Stormont’s “petition of concern” to ensure moves to legalise same-sex marriage are not vetoed in future. “The right that I have to get married to the person I love is not extended to him and to people like him in Northern Ireland. I think that’s very difficult to accept.”
The Belfast Telegraph reports that an east Belfast church has denied suggestions it is hosting an event next week aimed at “curing” gay people. It says it just wants to help them remain celibate and Christian.
Willowfield Parish Church on My Lady’s Road is to host an Evangelical Alliance-led event on March 8 entitled Is Your Church Biblically Inclusive?
It’s claimed the course is designed for those who are, or want to be, a committed Christian but identify as homosexual.
An advertisement for the course states: “The Living Out Course is designed to help church leaders to understand how they can help those who experience same-sex attraction to stay faithful to biblical teaching and flourish at the same time.”
Rector David McClay said the course was not a “gay therapy course” and that he and his family had been subjected to abusive phone calls and social media posts about the event.
Living Out is co-ordinated by three Christian leaders who experience same sex attraction. They are Sam Allberry, Sean Doherty and Ed Shaw.
Mr Varadkar (centre, in jeans) | Peter Morrison/Press Association | 17146
Attending Belfast Pride yesterday, Republic of Ireland Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it is “only a matter of time” until same sex marriage is legalised in Northern Ireland. Earlier, he attended a Gay Pride breakfast meeting at the Northern Whig bar in Belfast where he met gay members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, pictured, and others.
The DUP did not oppose Mr Varadkar’s attendence at the event, but a small group of Free Presbyterians staged a protest across the road.
Asked if he believed gay marriage would be introduced in the North, Mr Varadkar – who is openly gay – replied: “I do, I think it’s only a matter of time. Of course, the decision is for the Northern Ireland Assembly. But I am confident that like other western European countries they will make that decision in due course.”
Colin Robert Houston | Belfast Telegraph | 17143
Colin Robert Houston, a pastor and baggage handler, who offered to “cure” a homosexual colleague and complained about a pink tin of deodorant left on his work locker, lost his claim for unfair dismissal and religious belief discrimination.
The behaviour of the former UUP council candidate and preacher was revealed at an industrial tribunal he took against his employer at Belfast International Airport.
A bumper sticker bearing the slogan “I’m so gay I can’t even drive straight”, was stuck to his car. He told an openly gay colleague that there was a cure for gayness.
All of his claims were dismissed. The tribunal ruled that in view of all the complaints against him the temptation to end his contract “must have been overwhelming”.
July 1, 2017 | Belfast | Clodagh Kilcoyn/Reuters | 17130
Thousands of people marched in Belfast on Saturday to demand Northern Ireland join the rest of the United Kingdom in legalising same-sex marriage.
It is understood that resistance to gay marriage by the Democratic Unionist Party is one of the reasons why a power sharing administration for Northern Ireland has not so far been formed.
Opinion polls taken in Northern Ireland for some time show a majority are in favour of equal marriage.
Thousands of demonstrators marched through central Belfast waving rainbow flags and banners saying “Love is a Human Right.”
The Republic of Ireland voted in favour of gay marriage in a referendum in 2015.
The Scottish government has published a letter it received from Northern Ireland’s Arlene Foster of the DUP, about its laws surrounding gay marriage.
The correspondence, signed by Arlene Foster, was sent in early September 2015 when she was finance minister in the Stormont executive.
In her letter to former Scottish Minister Mr Marco Biagi, Mrs Foster said she was “concerned” about Scottish government proposals over same sex marriage.
She said “neither of us would wish to place same-sex couples in an uncertain legal position”.
“In this instance, we can achieve legal certainty by restricting the definition of a ‘qualifying civil partnership’ so as to exclude civil partnerships which were entered into in Northern Ireland,” she said.
Writing in response, Mr Biagi said he had considered the issues but concluded that it would “not be appropriate to exclude civil partnerships registered in Northern Ireland from the order”.
Until the publication of this letter, Mrs Foster had been denying that it had existed.
Julian Simmons | UTV | 17085
The Belfast Telegraph has been speaking to long time Northern Ireland television personality Julian Simmons about being gay.
He remembers one occasion when he was the victim of a homophobic attack in Belfast.
“On one particular day I went down Bedford Street to cross at the back of City Hall into Donegall Place and I was standing at the traffic lights and a red courier van comes along and as it came along a window went down and this fella shouted out ‘Ye big fruit ye’ and spat. As he spat me the wind caught it and the spit landed on a woman six feet down the road, and of course everyone was looking, and I said ‘I’m so sorry about that’.”
Nobody, anywhere, should ever be subjected to homophobia. Not even people who work on television.