Talking of gay rights, its been mixed a week both nationally and regionally, with the latest polls predicting a comfortable “Yes” majority on the proposed (and long overdue) constitutional amendment defining marriage without regard to gender, while in the north-east of the country the Stormont Assembly failed (yet again) to pass a resolution supporting marriage equality. While Sinn Féin proposed and supported the motion, with a majority of Nationalist and more open-minded Unionist MLAs agreeing, the bulk of mainstream British Unionist parties voted no. Not insignificantly five representatives for the SDLP simply – and very pointedly – absented themselves from the vote (though one apparently had family reasons for doing so), while three politicians from the supposedly liberal Unionists of the Alliance Party officially abstained. If the vote ostensibly looked like a Nationalist vs. Unionist, Left vs. Right split it was not without good reason. Or in the words of the DUP’s Arlene Foster during the debate:
“DUP enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said any Sinn Féin motion on equality should be viewed in the context of recent comments by Gerry Adams when referring to the DUP
“Mr Adams said that equality is being used as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to ‘break these bastards’. When it tried to murder and bomb us into submission, the IRA did not break this community, and it will not succeed in its false equality agenda either. For that is what it is: false,” she said.”
Which probably says more about the archaic world-view of the political ideology of British Unionism in Ireland than anything else.
One consolation at least, and that is the departure of the DUP’s Jim Wells – the regional health minister in Belfast – after the publicising of his antediluvian views on homosexuality, and the pitiful excuses offered in their wake. Even the Dupes couldn’t get away with this one, not with a gluttonous eye on the Westminster prize of some sort of dirty, under-the-table deal with the Tories or Labour after the May general election in the UK.