Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Iris Robinson MP and wife of Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, has made three horrendous statements on public morality lately. The latest to be reported: “There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children.”

The comments led to protests today (see picture).

On the 6th June she described homosexuality as an “abomination” and mental illness. During the BBC Radio Ulster interview the MP for Strangford offered to introduce gay men to a "Christian psychiatrist" who could make them heterosexual. Last Thursday she said “the government is there to uphold the morals of the scriptures.” The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has yet to make a statement distancing itself from her support for theocracy and homophobia.

If I didn't know better I'd think this women was a talk show host in the USA.

After her comments about gays back in June, Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson said: "I think that such an outrageous comment from Mrs Robinson calls into question her suitability as chair of the Assembly health committee." She added, "She should reflect on what she has said... of the pain and hurt she has caused across society for many, many families, for people out there trying to deal with that situation today."

I'm guessing Robinson didn't take that advice.

Also back in June UTV reported south Belfast District Policing Partnership member John O`Doherty said he formally complained to police about Robinson, claiming attacks against the gay community could follow her remarks.

He said:
"I find it amazing that one year after the comments made by Ian Paisley Junior we have similar comments being made by Iris Robinson. Elected representatives should be leaders in our communities and should condemn hate crime at every possible occasion, not be the cause of it. 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 result can result in Homophobic attacks and to LGBT people attempting suicide."

I haven't found anything that indicates the police did anything.

Pink News reports that Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland's only health project for gay and bisexual men, said this week following the latest revelations that Robinson's hate talk was not only "beyond contempt" but will expose the gay community in Northern Ireland to continued "violence, abuse and harassment."

"To make a correlation between an informed consensual act between two adults and the horrors of abuse that are perpetrated against children is vile, cruel and hate-filled," said David McCartney of the Rainbow Project.

He added:
"For the author of such comments to then describe this sustained campaign of anti-gay propaganda as ' a loving Christian act ' defies all logic.

"Political and religious leaders have publicly condemned the blatant homophobia and spoken about the levels of crime and harassment that the gay community faces here.

"This misguided politician does not speak for Christianity, rather only for a narrow band of extremists.

"The thugs that perpetrate hate will readily lap up whatever encouragement that they can find.

"It does not take much to inspire the misguided to violence; and the hatred spouted by some will add more fuel to the fires of prejudice and bigotry. Mrs Robinson is playing with people's lives; we hope and pray that the end result is not more prejudice, blighted lives or even bloodshed."

Robinson issued a statement Monday denying that she thought gay sex was worse than paedophilia. Robinson later said: "I clearly intended to say that child abuse was worse than even homosexuality and sodomy ... At no point have I set out to suggest homosexuality was worse than child sex abuse."

Isn't that nice.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's Catholic Primate Cardinal Sean Brady decided now would be a good time to step in with some support for the lady bigot. The Cardinal who is traveling in Australia with the Pope said he "broadly agreed" with Robinson's outlook on upholding God's laws in government.

The Cardinal's support comes after most of Northern Ireland's political parties condemned her views, with some questioning her fitness to carry out her role on the Stormont health committee.

The following is from the Belfast Telegraph.

Iris Robinson's gay outburst leads to street protests, official complaints and calls to quit
By Deborah McAleese

There were calls for Iris Robinson to resign from public office last night after she was accused of waging a “crusade against the gay community”.

The Belfast Telegraph yesterday revealed the latest controversy surrounding the wife of the First Minister after she stated to a parliamentary committee that homosexuality is “viler” than child sex abuse.

A Westminster watchdog last night said that a number of complaints have been made about DUP MP Iris Robinson following her controversial comments on homosexuality, but admitted that no action can be taken.

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, the body that monitors MPs’ code of conduct, said that despite the complaints about the Strangford MP nothing can be done as “the commissioner’s remit does not cover an MP’s views or opinions”.

The same exemption extends to Stormont where the vice chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee Sinn Fein MLA Willie Clarke said it is “very frustrating that at every opportunity people can abuse the code of conduct and get around it by saying it is a personal view or a religious belief.”

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph revealed that during a Grand Committee debate at Westminster in June on the management and assessment of sex offenders Mrs Robinson stated: “There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children.”

When asked to clarify her comments last Friday she said homosexuality was “comparable” to child abuse.

“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”, she said. As the storm over her comments grew, the First Minister’s wife made an apparent U-turn stating that the recording of the debate, published on the Hansard website, did not accurately reflect her views.

In a statement issued through the DUP Press office she added: “I clearly intended to say that child abuse was worse even than homosexuality and sodomy .... At no point have I set out to suggest homosexuality was worse than child sex abuse.”

A Hansard official last night said however that after checking audio recordings, she was satisfied the comments were reported accurately.

Members of the gay community gathered outside Belfast City Hall yesterday afternoon to protest against Mrs Robinson's comments.

One protester, Steven Colhoun, a gay Christian, said Mrs Robinson’s remarks left him fearful for his safety.

He added that he cannot understand why Mrs Robinson felt compelled to bring homosexuality into a debate about sex offenders.

“As a young gay man of 21 and a victim of religious and social homophobia as a result of her comments I am now fearful for my personal safety and for that of those like me.

“I believe that Iris Robinson should publicly apologise and I call on her to resign immediately.”

SDLP MP Alasdair McDonnell said that Mrs Robinson’s comments raise “serious questions about her fitness to sit in a position of responsibility”.

UUP MLA Basil McCrea said he believes Mrs Robinson has “gone too far” and that the DUP needs to make it clear if she is speaking for the party.

Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long MLA said Mrs Robinson’s remarks show a “complete lack of responsibility” and added that such remarks are both inflammatory and dangerous.

Mrs Robinson told the Belfast Telegraph that when she speaks out against homosexuality she is not “hate-mongering” but is talking out of love.

“I am trying to reach out to people. I try to reach out and love them. That is what Christ teaches us. Anything I say is out of love.”

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