“That’s a principle? Not for gay people to get married? What a principle…”
Owen Jones, a gay reporter for the Guardian, approached DUP leader Arlene Foster at the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham this week and asked her why she thinks gay people in Northern Ireland should not have the right to express there love just as she does.
The Fermanagh politician responded, “Well they do have the right to express their love. Nobody is talking about anybody not being able to love another person. Of course, they can.”
Foster continued, “I think marriage is between a man and a woman.”
When Jones claimed that most people in Northern Ireland disagreed with her, she admitted, “That could well be the case.”
Jones then said, “This is going to happen, equal marriage, and history will judge all of this. Don’t you think you should go down in history as somebody who confronted your own party and said, ‘Let gay people have the right to get married and share their love just as I do’?”
Foster answered the reporter, “I think Owen, the important thing is as a politician you have to have principles and if you believe in something I think you should be allowed to articulate that.”
Clearly agitated by this comment, Jones clapped back, “That’s a principle? Not for gay people to get married? What a principle…”
Foster concluded the interview by telling Jones, “If you have a belief, I think you should be allowed to have a belief, otherwise, we would live in a very intolerant world, wouldn’t we?”
In a tweet, Jones stated, “[It is] time for the DUP to stop denying LGBTQ people their rights. That’s what I told their leader at [the] Tory conference.”
Time for the DUP to stop denying LGBTQ people their rights. That's what I told their leader at Tory conference. pic.twitter.com/BgKm46tbw6
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) October 2, 2018
Despite continuing to oppose the rights of LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland, the party leader still claims to be a supporter of the LGBT+ community.
The 48 year-old, who campaigned against the decriminalisation of homosexuality as part of the Save Ulster From Sodomy movement in the 1970s, spoke at a Pink News event in Belfast in June of this year, being the first DUP leader to do so.
Some saw her appearance at the event as a display of support for the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland. But, in her speech, she proclaimed that she would support the community, who to this day are denied equal rights in Northern Ireland, as long as her views were respected.
“All I ask in return is that my and my party’s view are also respected, if not agreed with,” Foster stated.
She continued in her speech, “I wanted to recognise that some of our brightest and best in this country are part of the LGBT community. I wanted to send a clear message from this event, that we are all someone’s child and we are all a valued part of this wonderful place we call home.”
Although she claims that LGBT+ people “are all valued”, she continues to oppose their equal right to marry.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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.
comments. Please sign in to comment.