The recent homophobic comments by Health Minister Jim Wells have caused massive outrage and expose once again how backward the politicians at Stormont are. He claimed that “You don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That a child is far more likely to be abused and neglected.” Disgracefully, as Minister he has responsibility for child welfare and social services!
Wells claims that he made these comment due to personal stress – however, this is not the first time he has made such vile comments. In 2011, he told Pride organisers that, “I find the behaviour of those who take part in this march repugnant.” Of course, the DUP have a long history of these vile comments and opposing LGBT rights, most recently, with their ‘conscience clause’ which will enshrine the right to discriminate into law.
While DUP members have expressed some of the most bigoted attiudes towards LGBT people, other parties have not been prepared to challenge homophobia. The Alliance, UUP and SDLP all have elected representative which have voted against or abstained on marriage equality. Sinn Féin have been willing to take donations from homophobic organisations like the Ancient Order or Hibernians. and all parties are united in opposing a women’s right to choose.
Despite the fact progress is being made to win marriage equality in Britain and Ireland, inn Northern Ireland, same-sex couples will be denied the right to marry. As Health Minister, in his own words, Wells is “singing of the same hymn sheet” as his predecessor who spent tens of thousands opposing the lifting of a blood donation ban for gay men and adoption rights for same sex couples.
There is clearly a lot that still needs to be fought for here and we need to get organised against the dinosaurs on the hill! Not just for legal rights, but to wipe out homophobia. It is not good enough that couples are allowed to get married but are terrified to walk down the street holding hands. Socialist Youth wants to build a new campaign that will organise against homophobia, sexism and sectarianism. If you are interested in getting involved, contact us today.