09/06/2008

Police To Investigate Robinson Gay Comments

Police have confirmed they are investigating comments made by a DUP MP who criticised homosexual practices as "an abomination".

Iris Robinson, the chair of the Stormont health committee, speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show on Friday, also said she believed gay people could be "turned around".

She said: "I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals - trying to turn them away from what they are engaged in."

John O'Doherty, a South Belfast District Policing Partnership member has revealed he has filed a complaint with the police over the comments, saying: "I find it amazing that one year after the complaints made by Ian Paisley Junior we have similar comments made by Iris Robinson."

He added: "People like Mrs Robinson need to learn that their comments have consequences and they must abide by the law like everyone else.

"Incitement to hatred is a serious crime. Comments like this can result in homophobic attacks and to LGBT people attempting suicide."

Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson called on Mrs Robinson to apologise for her remarks and also said that such an "outrageous comment" called into question her suitability as chair of the Assembly's Health Committee.

Mrs Robinson’s comments followed the serious homophobic assault on a Co Antrim man last week who was "left for dead".

Stephen Scott, 27, was walking home near Ballyduff Brae, Newtownabbey, when three youths, thought to be in their late teens, knocked him to the ground and continued kicking and punching him as they shouted insults.

Iris Robinson said she would defend her right to express religious beliefs, while also condemning violence against the gay community.

See: Robinson's 'Gay' Comments Provoke Controversy

(JM/KMcA)

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