31/05/2007

Paisley Jr criticised over 'gay' comments

A Democratic Unionist Party member is under pressure to apologise for allegedly saying he is “repulsed” by gays and lesbians.

Ian Paisley Jr made the comments to Hot Press magazine and is quoted as saying: “I am, unsurprisingly, a straight person and I am repulsed by gays and lesbians.”

He also went on to say “those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society”. However, he said, “that doesn’t mean to say that I hate them. I hate what they do.”

The SDLP’s equality spokeswoman, Dolores Kelly has called on the Assembly to censure Mr Paisley by tabling a motion with the Assembly’s business office urging members to distance themselves from the remarks.

“Ian Paisley is a junior minister in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, the department which is charged with promoting equality and bringing forward the Single Equality Bill,” she said.

“Vulnerable groups who are potential victims of discrimination should be able to look to him for help, not attack.

“If he cannot leave his extreme personal views outside his office, he must be kept away from any decisions which may be affected by those views.”

Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson also said all ministers in the executive had “a statutory equality duty and should protect the rights of everyone, regardless of religion, sex, race, disability or sexual orientation.”

(JM/SP)

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