Mrs May and her gay-hating mates

PUBLISHED: 13:25 20 June 2017

DUP leader Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds

DUP leader Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds

PA Wire/PA Images

The kingmakers of Theresa May’s diminished government, the Democratic Unionist Party, hold some very controversial views

It comes to a sorry pass when a Government which claims to be all about “one nation Conservatism”, about being there for every citizen, no matter what their gender identity, race, religion, sexuality or culture, is being propped up by arguably he most extreme political party in the House of Commons today.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) hold views which many would have been seen as old fashioned in the 19th Century, never mind the 21st.

Lots of words have already been broadcast and written about the DUP’s socially-conservative view of social issues, especially in regards to LGBT matters.

But, what actually is their record? Let’s go back to the party’s beginnings in the 1970s, when it was founded by the late Reverend Ian Paisley, who would later go on to be Northern Ireland’s First Minister:

• In 1977 he launched a campaign entitled “Save Ulster from Sodomy” in the hope of ensuring homosexuality remained illegal in the province;

• In 1988 DUP MPs voted against the lowering of the age of consent for gay sex from 18 to 16;

• In 2001 DUP MPs voted against a motion to bring forward a gender neutral Civil Registration Bill;

• In 2002 DUP MPs voted against an amendment to a Bill to allow unmarried straight and gay couples to adopt children;

• In 2004, as well as voting against both the second and third reading of the Gender Recognition Bill, DUP MPs voted against the second and third reading of the Civil Partnerships Bill;

• In 2007, party grandee Lord Morrow proposed a motion, in the House of Lords, to defeat the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland).

• Also in 2007, DUP MPs voted against a Government bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;

• In 2008, DUP peers voted to prevent a clause demanding the need for a “father” from being removed in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. If they’d have had their way and the clause had stayed, it would have meant lesbian couples being unable to access IVF treatment;

• Again in 2008, DUP MPs twice voted against Government proposals to allow single mothers and lesbian couples to access IVF treatment;

• In 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 DUP MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) blocked motions aiming to secure same sex marriage in Northern Ireland, using a mechanism called the “petition of concern” (part of the Good Friday Agreement);

I have chosen not to list the quotes of various DUP elected representatives down the years, who have spoken in vitriolic terms about LGBT people, because they’re that upsetting I don’t want to repeat them here and cause my fellow LGBT people any further distress.

But just some of the words used include describing homosexual relationships as “immoral”, “offensive”, “an abomination” and being “repulsed” by them.

I hope, by now, you’re starting to get a good understanding-if you didn’t already-of the kind of people who are now holding the Government of this country by the balls.

I know the Tories claims that these, I’d argue, appalling views will have no bearing on LGBT rights in the rest of the UK.

But, even if they don’t, what kind of message does them being so close to power send out?

What does it say to LGBT young people, who are already often facing bullying and discrimination at home and at school?

What does it say to LGBT people in many nations around the world, where to be gay is to be under threat of persecution and even death?

And, what does it say to LGBT people in Northern Ireland, who deserve to be equal under the law, but are currently treated as second class citizens because any effort to change the laws there are blocked by the DUP?

People are entitled to their own personal beliefs and religious convictions, as a liberal I’ll always defend that.

But what they’re not – or should not be – entitled to do is to use those beliefs, in public policy terms, to block the equality and human rights of others.

That the Conservatives have had to prostrate themselves before the DUP, shows just how low they’ll go to retain their grubby grip on power.

We who care about the rights of all LGBT people everywhere must speak up and out against this dangerous Coalition of Chaos.

Mathew Hulbert is an LGBT Rights activist and a former Lib Dem Councillor in Leicestershire. He tweets at @HulbertMathew.

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