Current leader of the DUP party Arlene Foster will attend an event in Stormont this month in which she will honour the contributions of the LGBT+ community to Northern Ireland and “to recognise the reality of diversity among our citizens”.
During a DUP executive meeting last week, Foster announced that she had accepted an invitation to an LGBT+ event being held by one of the biggest inward investors in Northern Ireland.
“I believe I can hold to my principled position, particularly in reality to the definition of marriage, while respecting the diversity across our society and recognising that sexuality is a matter for the individual,” she told party members.
“All I ask in return is that my, and our views, are also respected and not the subject of the vilest of abuse as has sometimes been the case by a small minority.
“Just because we disagree on marriage does not mean that I can’t say that we value those who are LGBT in our society, and they should not be the subject of hate because of their sexuality.”
She also claimed that groups who would not traditionally vote for the DUP, including the LGBT+ community, were considering doing so.
“Roman Catholics, Irish speakers and yes, those who are gay and lesbian – I know because I have met people from all of these groups who vote DUP
“Being Irish in the UK must be as valid an identity as being Scottish or Welsh, or Indian or Latvian. We have everything to gain from respecting cultural difference and we must set an example,” she said.
Foster also spoke about how she believes that Sinn Féin need to compromise by “working with unionists”.
“Sinn Fein also have to accept that partnership government can only operate by accepting and working with unionists and we will only reach agreement when it is a fair and balanced package,” she added.
“We’re willing to work in partnership but it cannot be on the basis of stop/start government.”
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