In what was set to be the first time a Stormont First Minister had met with representatives of the LGBTQ+ community, Northern Irish LGBTQ+ groups have decided not to go ahead in their meeting with Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.
It comes after Foster’s decision to step down as leader of the DUP party and as First Minister following an internal party revolt against her leadership. Foster had abstained from voting on a motion to ban conversion therapy in Northern Ireland which infuriated the traditional Christian members of her party already angered by her handling of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Foster leaves the leadership role on May 28th and as the First Minister at the end of June.
It is believed that a separate meeting will be requested with Michelle O’Neill and whoever is elected by the DUP to become the next First Minister of Stormont.
Northern Irish Deputy of the Green Party, Cllr. Malachai O’Hara previously told Belfast Live that the “time has long passed” for Arlene Foster to have sat down with LGBTQ+ groups.
Northern Irish LGBTQ+ organisations are expected to meet with incoming DUP leader Edwin Poots and deputy leader Paula Bradley when they take up their posts, at a later date.
Poots continues to stir controversy among his views on the community with his political history seeing him enforcing laws on the blood ban against GBT+ men and preventing LGBTQ+ people from adopting.
Mr Poots told the BBC’s Nolan Show: “I don’t believe that you can fix or cure people of their sexuality. People’s sexuality is their sexuality.”
When asked if he thought gay people were born that way, Mr Poots replied: “I probably do, yes.”
He added: “I have worked with people who are gay. I have worked for people who are gay. I have had people who are gay in my house who I have done constituency work for.”
“I seek to treat everybody the same.”
The DUP did not respond as to whether Mr Poots would be willing to meet with LGBTQ+ groups in his capacity as party leader.
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