Alison Bennington Is First Openly Gay DUP Election Candidate

Bennington could become the party’s first ever openly gay elected representative next month.

dup candidate alison bennington
Image Source: Alison Bennington

Alison Bennington, a DUP election candidate, has become the party’s first openly gay politician. The party has long been known for its hostility towards the LGBT+ community.

The DUP is opposed to same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland and faced backlash from the LGBT+ community in 2015 when the party blocked a vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage using the petition of concern veto.

Bennington is contesting the council election for the DUP in the Glengormley Urban area of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. Bennington could become the party’s first ever openly gay elected representative next month.

“I am delighted to have been selected as a DUP council candidate,” Ms Bennington said. “I am putting myself before the electorate based on what I can deliver for them as a councillor working alongside a strong team of colleagues, not based on my sexual orientation.”

Ms Bennington added: “I regard my private and family life as a matter for myself in the same way as everyone else.”

Last summer, Arlene Foster became the first DUP leader to attend an LGBT+ event. Mrs Foster attended the event in Stormont during Pride month to “recognise the reality of diversity among our citizens”. However, Mrs Foster remains opposed to same-sex marriage, saying: “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.”

Previous leaders of the party have also opposed same-sex marriage. Former DUP leader Ian Paisley led the ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ campaign in the late 1970s against the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Northern Ireland. His son Ian Jnr, DUP MP for North Antrim, has publicly said he is “repulsed by gay and lesbianism”.

Ms Bennington has previously indicated that she is in favour of same-sex marriage through a post on her Facebook page.

Ms Bennington runs a consultancy firm in the culture, parks and sports sectors. She has previously worked in city sports facilities as well as local and central government.

A DUP spokesman said: “Alison is an excellent candidate and will make an excellent representative for the people of Glengormley. The party selects candidates on the basis of merit and we believe in equality of opportunity.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.