“Two lesbians living together are not a family. They are sexual perverts playing let’s pretend”


Much was said of Belfast ‘Pastor’ James McConnell’s recent anti-Islamic comments:

The story was picked up around the world and McConnell was subsequently questioned by the PSNI.

First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson was drawn into the row when he gave his backing to the Pastor’s remarks and said he would not trust Muslims involved in violence or those devoted to Sharia law but would “trust them to go to the shops” for him.

Both Mr. Robinson and Pastor McConnell were forced to apologise after two massive anti racism rallies were held in Belfast.

On Saturday evening on our Twitter page, we posted a link to another of the Pastor’s sermons in which he denounced homosexuals and the “effiminate” as “perverts” and that “two lesbians living together are not a family. They are sexual perverts playing let’s pretend”.

The comments prompted local journalist Lyra LyraMcKee to post an impassioned tweet and a follow-up blog which has garnered an amazing response on Twitter including a retweet from the ‘Queen of Ireland’ herself, Panti Bliss.


We asked Lyra to explain her motivation for writing the blog:

I wrote it because after hearing Pastor McConnell’s comments all the shame I felt as a 14 year old kid came rushing back. I still find it hard to talk about this stuff because the first 20 years of my life were spent being ashamed of this “thing”. That doesn’t go away overnight. I was writing it partly to reassure myself, to remind myself that it did get better and is so much better than 14 year old me could ever have imagined. Sometimes, I think that 14 year old is still in there and she’s still scared. 

I also wrote it – again, partly-  because my stomach turned at the thought of some 14 year now listening to it and thinking, “I’m better off dead because everyone’s going to hate me after I tell them my secret.” But the main thing that drove me to write it was seeing people I love, who are currently struggling to come out, react to McConnell’s words. They were angry and hurt and sick with fear. They’re already dealing with so much turmoil in their lives and then they had to listen to this. I couldn’t bear that. I had to do something. Love is the most powerful thing in the world and when you love someone, you’ll go through fire for them. Remember that if you’re afraid of telling the people you love who you are. If they really love you, they won’t care. I think the love and support I received really helped them and I’d liked to say a huge thank you to everyone who tweeted support – you weren’t just helping me that day, you were helping people I love deeply. 

I think the local press don’t care because being homophobic is one of the last acceptable prejudices. It’s accepted that racism is disgusting – if you call a racist a racist, they’ll reply: “No I’m not!”  The label “homophobe” does not have the same weight or sting to it. Yet it should. I respect Christians and I can understand the conflict they have on this issue. If someone says to me, “Lyra, I’m sorry but I can’t support equal marriage because my interpretation of Scripture says I shouldn’t”, I can respect that because we live in a democratic society and a supposedly free one. What I cannot respect is hurtful language or my rights being taken away. Having the option to marry someone I love is not going to affect anyone’s life but my own. You will still be able to live by your morals and I’ll be able to live by mine. We cannot say we live in a free and democratic society when one group decides to use their weight as the majority to deny the rights of the minority.


Tomorrow Lyra is scheduled to appear on the Stephen Nolan show. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Robinson or any of the other politicians who attend Pastor McConnell’s Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle are as quick to defend him on this occasion.


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  • Kevin Breslin

    So two sisters who just happen to be lesbians are pretending to be family Pastor?

  • Ernekid

    I believe that the Rubberbandits new song Fellas is appropiate here.

    The best line is of course “If a fella says you shouldn’t be f##ing fellas maybe he should f## a fella too!

  • Mister_Joe

    Should we give this “gentleman”, who doesn’t follow his God’s admonitions, the publicity he seems to crave or should we just ignore him?

  • I’m Trending on Twitter

    You talking about yourself?

  • Gopher

    Apparently God destroyed Sodom and Gommorah, the public school system is a mess and this great society is in trouble. Next week it will be Heavy metal, Rave music and the Eurovision song contest and God will destroy Sodom and Gommorah once again. Its good there is a go to guy when the press require a moron on a slow news day. Kinda reflects the average intelligence of the punters the news media has to feed. I think the Gay and Lesbian community should thank the good pastor for increasing numbers at next years parade. Meanwhile away from teenage angst carried on into middle age there are some really good blogs about the Middle East, Ukraine, Asia, Football and other more complicated issues.

  • Croiteir

    What is a family?

  • gunterprien

    I am off to Sicily..I shall ask there.

  • gunterprien

    You lost me at football..Nice deflect though. Middle East was classy.

  • Michael Henry

    Whilst most same sex couples are in love with each other -I think that the most a person shouts and complains about them the more that person would wish to be able to be in that same love with a same sex person-some hide behind morality- some hide behind a bible- but the truth always comes out-same sex could be love- anti sex could be evil-

  • chrisjones2

    Errr ……………….. why were my comments deleted MIck?

  • dan

    Bravo that you have the guts to speack truth in front of this new gay militancy agenda for destruction of a sane familly…speack truth and fear no man…

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Silly views in my opinion, however it’s a free society and he is entitled to them, I don’t support them but I support his right to say them.

  • chrisjones2

    …but do fear the police if you breach the law on hate crimes

  • chrisjones2

    What about Mormons with say 3 wives. Does he count themuns? They are all Gods Children after all – well a God’s children depending on ones standpoint

  • Turgon

    Its actually rather worse than that. Pastor McConnell’s views are of very limited relevance to most outside his own flock. Unfortunately it is likely that the situation you suggest would be incest which is a crime punishable by up to two years in gaol. To prosecute for adult incest does, however, I believe, require the assent of a senior law officer possibly the Attorney General. Whilst such prosecutions are vanishingly rare it is still, however, a crime.

    I have pointed this sort of thing out before on slugger. The equal marriage law has far from ended discrimination. Whilst two lesbian sister are at risk of prosecution two non sexually linked siblings cannot gain the tax etc. benefits of civil partnership. Polyamorus (polygamy or polyandry) groups have no legal rights and if they try to formalise their relationships they can be prosecuted for bigamy. Bigamy prosecutions are common enough.

    The reality is that “equal marriage” is far from equal. It gives non biologically related same sex couples more rights than everyone else (civil partnership and marriage), non biologically related different sex couples next with marriage alone. Then non sexually linked couples related or not (no rights but no prohibitions). Next polyamorus relationships (criminalisation of attempts to formalise their relationships) and finally worst sexually linked biologically related couples for whom sexual activity is illegal.

    So sorry Pastor McConnell’s views are not that relevant to most in the world. The disadvantages suffered by all sorts of groups including the one you mentioned are very real and relevant.

  • Glenn Clare

    What pastor McConnell said is almost as abhorrent as a senior republican claiming the abduction, torture, murder, secret burial of a mother of 10 children was not a crime. Then we have another senior republican denying any part or action in the said actions mentioned above even when two fellow senior republicans implicate them directly in the actions above, talk is cheep on all sides.

  • David

    Elderly homophobe uses imaginary friend to justify own prejudice. Sad, but not as sad as those who listen to him. Shame on them.

  • Felicity JP Woodruffe

    Well said lol

  • Felicity JP Woodruffe

    Yes why ?

  • Mister_Joe

    On Love

    Then said Almitra, “Speak to us of Love.”

    And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a

    stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:

    When love beckons to you follow him,

    Though his ways are hard and steep.

    And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

    Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to

    you believe in him,

    Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the


    For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your

    growth so is he for your pruning.

    Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that

    quiver in the sun,

    So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the

    earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

    He threshes you to make you naked.

    He sifts you to free you from your husks.

    He grinds you to whiteness.

    He kneads you until you are pliant;

    And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread

    for God’s sacred feast.

    All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your

    heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of

    love’s threshing-floor,

    Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,

    and weep, but not all of your tears.

    Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

    Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto

    love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but

    rather, I am in the heart of God.”

    And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy,

    directs your course.

    Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

    But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

    To know the pain of too much tenderness.

    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of


    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

    To return home at eventide with gratitude;

    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of

    praise upon your lips.

  • chrisjones2

    Mick …I still dont understand why I was deleted? Why is it ok to called the blessed Pastor a moron (for example) but not to call his views bigoted?

  • chrisjones2

    Are you on holiday here? Or doing missionary work?

  • Croiteir

    Looks as if no one here knows what a family is but they are quite determined to condemn anyone who has a view on it.

  • Adrian

    Pathetic excuse for a human being. It musn’t feel good to go around with a heart so filled with hate all the time. What a wretch.

  • Carlos Nicko

    Who do religious people feel the need to quote passages as if they in some way justify their bigotry?
    Books are written by man and are in no way the word of god
    The king James bible was rewritten ffs

  • carl marks

    Because two sisters are gay and share a house does not make the guilty of incest i think you have to be in a sexual relationship for incest laws to apply), I find it amusing that many homophobes automatically assume that when two gay people get together they start shagging. If a heterosexual pair of siblings share a house do you go round shouting incest.

    But it’s always nice to see the old customs kept going, incest has been brought into the thread, how long till we get bestiality, peados, and the rest of the activities that homophobes (with no proof whatsoever) whenever gay equality or rights are mentioned.

  • carl marks

    pray tell us, what do you think a family is?

  • Gareth Murray

    All Christian religions and more officially endorse his sentiments, the Pastor just reminds us about it once in a while. Very sad he thinks about loving couples in such a shameful way.

  • Mister_Joe

    If you’re referring to me; you’re sadly wrong, me being an atheist.
    Would like you to point out the bigotry in the passage quoted.

  • Croiteir

    Why should I – I am not doing any condemning of anothers observation.

  • carl marks

    Pity I thought you might have something to contribute to the debate, seems I was wrong.

  • Turgon

    There is not a shred of homophobia in my statement. That is an outright deceit. You are welcome to trawl all my comments on slugger to find my condemnation of homosexuality: you will not find it. I have never commented on homosexuality in a moral sense. I have only commented on the inequalities in the law.

    At no point did I assume they were taking part in sexual activity. It is the law which does so with civil partnerships and marriage. I stated that if they had sex it was illegal. If on the other hand they did not form a civil partnership / marriage they get no rights. It is the law which discriminates in favour of sexual unions: one of the things I find unequal and unfair.

    Your do, however, reinforce my point about the inequality of the current marriage / civil partnership laws. The scenario of lesbian siblings living together in a non sexual relationship is a perfect example. They might have lived together of all their lives yet have none of the advantages in terms of inheritance rights etc. offered to married couples or civil partners. However, if two same sex individuals form a civil partnership (or get married) or two different sex people get married (they are denied the civil partnership option) they automatically gain all those rights denied to the two lesbian siblings mentioned above.

    The pastor’s view is not relevant here. Rather it is the law which is in a way suggesting that the lesbian siblings are not a proper family. The law is discriminatory against all sorts of people, discriminating in mainland GB most heavily in favour of homosexuals pairs and in NI in favour of heterosexual pairs first and homosexual pairs second leaving everyone else severely disadvantaged.

    The couple suggested are in a classic catch 22. Despite being sisters, they have noting from the law if they are not civil partners. If they tried to become civil partners they are liable to prosecution for incest (because they are sisters). It is the law which assumes civil partners (and married couples) have sexual activity.

    What is needed is to extend civil partnership to any person or persons of suitable age and mental capacity who wish it. The reason this is unlikely is I suggest partly bigotry on the part of those who condemn polygamy and consensual incest and more importantly the state which wants the inheritance tax etc. it would lose if it treated people such as the lesbian sibling pair fairly.

  • carl marks

    The Homophobia was in you jumping to the conclusion that gay siblings living together will engage in incest (it’s the oul Gays are perverts and sex addicts thing) ask yourself would you jump to the same conclusion if the siblings where heterosexual, remember Kevin Breslin didn’t mention them living together or state they were in a relationship, he just asked were two lesbian sisters could be regarded as family you brought up incest.

    Of course the point you are making could have been made without the implication of perversion indeed the incest point was completely irrelevant, so it begs the question why you thought fit to introduce it into the debate!

  • TruthFinder

    Welcome to the mad world of the new western social experiment where everything that was once intuitively understood as unnatural is held up as normative. Anyone who deviates from the Gospel of Inclusivity is immediately denounced by the fundamentalist homofascists as a “homophobe.” Although who fears 1.6% of the population is beyond me!

    We even have SF (you remember them – the women and chidden murderers, who engaged in an unrepentant campaign of ethnic genocide for 40 years in Fermanagh, East Tyrone, and South Armagh) positioning themselves as human rights advocates for this circus.

    The family unit has been understood intuitively for centuries by every civilisation in every century and on every continent as being made up of a man and a woman and children. Rebranding it to appeal to immature weirdos and perverts may seem the clever thing but it cannot change the facts of nature and the laws of history. Yes there have been deviations from the norm down the centuries amongst a minority in every society who refuse to conform but the exceptions to the rule only prove the rule!

  • babyface finlayson

    I think there is a blacklist of certain words thought to be unhelpful to debate.Lester Piggot being one of them.

  • carl marks

    And the award for the most use of homophobic stereotypes goes to Truthfinder,

    This bit was classic

    “Welcome to the mad world of the new western social experiment where everything that was once intuitively understood as unnatural is held up as normative.”

    Of course what people think as intuitive quite often turns out to be nonsense as our knowledge increases, how many flat Earthers out there, and let’s not forget all those who thought slavery was the natural order, then of course those who just know the earth is only 6000 years old (the good pastor being one) and let’s not forget about all those witches that were drowned because it was common sense that whether they floated or sank was proof of guilt or innocence.

    And didn’t everybody know that having a disability was a punishment from god and children born out of marriage deserved to be punished for their sins and where also discriminated against in inheritance law.

    And of course Truthfinder gets a honourable mention for reverting to irrelevant whataboutry when running out rational argument.

  • Godfrey Johnson

    Who’s going to tell Mr. McConnell that by far the greatest number of sexual perverts are to be found in hetero households?

    I refer of course to incest and other forms of child rape. We’re only just beginning to truly open the lid on this stinking pit. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear about yet another foul paedophile being unmasked.

  • TruthFinder

    The award for homofascist goes to Carl Marks. Of course we have the usual distortion of history in relation to slavery, which was a scourge that was removed by Christians like Wilberforce who believed in the Bible. But when you want to overturn history and nature to promote the newly ordained family unit of Carl and his mates, then it is no surprise that he distorts other facts of history. Sorry Carl, the normal people haven’t gone away you know. We see the tunnel you want us all to go down, but we don’t see any light there.

  • TruthFinder

    Great points to the unenlightened

  • Godfrey Johnson

    Indeed an enlightening debate, TruthFinder! Thanks for the share.

    Isn’t it sad how religious fundamentalists like Ryan Anderson display their intolerance at every turn?

    If only their parents and teachers had introduced them to the Golden Rule at an early age, what a lovely place the world might be.

  • Croiteir

    I have – no one can define what the central point of the discussion is – so it is pointless

  • carl marks

    Where to start, well I could point out that you have broken Godwin’s law with each post but since you throw the word fascist at everybody who dares to disagree I don’t think you would understand how manic it makes you sound.

    Now slavery, you fail to mention that the Christian establishment was involved in slavery and while some christens opposed it ,through its history (by the way slavery extended through history and location it wasn’t just the Americas the foul trade existed) many more supported it and profited from it, perhaps you would like to point out which facts of history I overturn and could you perhaps point out the laws of nature (scientific evidence please not just something you heard in bible school) that I am overturning?

    Now you said it was intuitive that a family was a man, women, and children I disagree with that and pointed out that many, many things that we regard as nonsense which was intuitive in its day, it was intuitive to many that women should not be allowed to vote, it was intuitive that women were the property of their husbands, that kings had a divine right to rule, and the earth was at the centre of the universe and I have already mentioned slavery and the treatment of Children.

    All I have done is point out that as the human has learned more and matured the old “truths” are in many cases not truths but the result of ignorance.

    Now Wilberforce was a Great man but to claim that he represented the thinking of any more than a small percentage of Christians throughout history is laughable as history is full of examples of “Christian” involvement in that trade.

    And by the way if you think you speak for normal people then you really should get out more!

  • mickfealty

    Boys, try to keep the ball and not the man. And please don’t blame the other one.

    I just want to briefly record my own difficulty with the word homophobia. It’s often used to mischaracterise someone else’s argument or take them out of the game completely.

    This is (so far as we can make it so) a pluralist space where some value is put one mannerly discourse. It may not feel like it at times, largely because I don’t like putting my dig feet in everywhere (nor do I have the time.

    I think we probably need to deal with that by recruiting a small but robust team of community moderators to enforce this rule of playing the ball rather than the man.

    Carry on…

  • carl marks

    Mick, I will step away from this exchange but as you pointed out some words can stifle argument.

    I accept in general Turgons point about inequalities still existing in Co habitation /marriage law, However the completely unnecessary and irrelevant use of words like incest, bestiality etc. which appear in every thread dealing with Gay equality is unacceptable and surly we should challenge such attempts at stereotyping or guilt by association .

  • carl marks

    oops! while i may be a surly oul git, i meant surely