Thursday, 31 July 2008

Iris Robinson faces second police complaint

The controversy concerning Iris Robinson’s intolerant attitudes of lesbian and gay people continued today when I made another formal statement to Police concerning her most recent comments made to the Belfast Telegraph when she stated “I cannot think of anything more sickening than a child being abused. It is comparable to the act of homosexuality. I think they are all comparable. I feel totally repulsed by both”.

I allege Iris Robinson, wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister, has contravened the Article 9 of the Public Order (NI) Order 1987 by using threatening, abusive or insulting words which have the likelihood to stir up hatred and arouse fear.

It is with great regret that I have felt it necessary to make another police statement concerning the MP for Strangford. Freedom of speech is important but people must respect rather than abuse this Human Right. I feel threatened, abused, insulted and fearful because Mrs Robinson compared homosexuality to child abuse which is illegal and, I believe, grossly offensive and fundamentally wrong.

Whilst Mrs Robinson has subsequently moved to distance herself from comments attributed to the Strangford MP at a House of Commons Committee on 18 June 2008 she hasn’t sought to clarify or disown those made directly to the Belfast Telegraph. I have therefore deemed it necessary to make yet another police complaint. History is littered with examples of how people accused of child abuse have been treated by others. Only recently was an Edinburgh resident kicked unconscious because his attackers wrongly thought he was a paedophile. The father-of-two lost two pints of blood after a brutal attack by a gang of thugs. To align homosexuality with child abuse is both reprehensible and extremely dangerous.

I call for Mrs Robinson to unconditionally withdraw and apologise for her comments made over the last few weeks where she has aligned homosexuality with child abuse and described homosexuality as disgusting, nauseous and something people can rightly have a physical disgust towards.

I am shocked that Iris Robinson still remains Chairperson of the Assembly’s Health Committee. Such intolerant and homophobic views are clearly incompatible with such an important post. The fact that she hasn’t resigned as Health Committee Chair nor been removed merely provides that homophobia is the last acceptable prejudice”.

Thursday 31 July 2008

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Same sex parenting

Yesterday I appeared on BBC Newsline 6.30 to discuss the issue of same sex parenting.

You can view the article and interview on YouTube by
clicking here or BBC News website.

The key issue in relation to same sex parenting is, of course, what's best for the child.

Instead of saying that gay people aren't good parents the focus should be on addressing the homophobia in society that dissuades many good gay people from bringing up children.

Gay parents are just as good as straight parents.

Barnados do not exclude adopters on grounds of race, gender, age or sexual orientation. Barnardo's policy for some years has been to assess all potential adopters or foster carers exclusively on their ability to provide a loving, stable and secure childhood for a child, or children, who are often disadvantaged and sometimes have had an inadequate upbringing.

American Psychological Association stated in 2004;

“there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children".

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Monday, 14 July 2008

No spin please

On Saturday Twelfth of July I visited Belfast City Centre to watch the annual Orange Order parade at Shaftesbury Square.

Whilst I was impressed by the colourful nature of the parade and the accompanying music I was startled to see many people openly consuming alcohol in front of police officers. I was even more startled when I noticed that this was occurring in front of the Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde.

If this occurred on any other day of the year the police wouldn’t flinch from taking swift action to enforce Council bye-laws which expressly prohibit consumption of alcohol in Shaftesbury Square.

We were informed by Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland that on-street drinkers met with a "robust approach" on the Twelfth. If being allowed to drink in front of the Chief Constable is “robust” I dread to think what “softly softly” looks like.

Whilst I welcome the lack of violence and confrontation experienced and congratulate the police and community workers for making this possible it’s about time to the police stopped spinning and injected a degree of sincerity into the issue of on street drinking.

If the new “normalised” policing arrangements don’t cater for mass on street drinking on one day a year please tell us. Then we will be able to adjust our lives to the fact that enforcement of the bye-laws is temporarily suspended on the Twelfth.