LGBT issues: Northern Ireland party views – UPDATED

(Updated to include responses from the Ulster Unionist Party and People Before Profit)

Research conducted by Ruth McCarthy highlights some stark differences between the parties contesting this years Westminster elections in Northern Ireland on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

LGBT Isues

A series of questions were asked:

1a Does your party visibly support LGBTQ equality issues in your party manifesto, on your website and in election campaigning materials?
If YES, please give examples. If NO, please state why.

1b Please give any other examples of how your party supports LGBTQ visibility.

2a What is your party policy on tackling homophobia and transphobia through education and training in schools?

2b What is your party’s record in actively tackling homophobia and transphobia through education and training in schools?

3a What is your party’s policy on addressing the serious health inequalities faced by LGBTQ people?

3b What is your party’s record in actively addressing the serious health inequalities faced by LGBTQ people?

4a Does your party support Equal Marriage for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland?

4b What is your party’s record in actively supporting Equal Marriage for same-sex couples?

5a Does your party support the Conscience Clause? 5b What is your party’s record in actively opposing the Conscience Clause?

6a Does your party support a total ban on gay men giving blood?

6b What’s your party’s track record in opposing the blood ban for gay men?

7 Does your party have any LGBTQ-identified candidates standing in the 2015 General Election?

8 Does your party have any mandatory training or education for staff around LGBTQ issues? If NO, do you plan to change this? Please outline when.

9 Trans communities in the UK And Ireland have united to produce a simple three point manifesto that they
are asking all 2015 Election candidates to support or decline. It takes less than a minute to read and you can find it at www.transmanifesto.org.uk

Does your party support or decline the three main principles?

A few samples on the question “Does your party support Equal Marriage for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland?”

SDLP: 

The SDLP supports the equal marriage campaign and we believe that civil marriage should be available to all regardless of sexual orientation.

Sinn Fein:

Yes. Sinn Féin actively campaign for marriage equality north and south. Sinn Féin have put for- ward motions for marriage equality before the As- sembly and local councils across Ireland. Represent- atives from the Marriage Equality Campaign gave a keynote address at Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2015 along- side elected representatives from Sinn Féin LGBT.

Green Party:

Yes. We support freedom of religion and freedom from religion. We believe that faith groups should be able to decide for themselves if they wish to solemnise same-sex weddings and this will work similarly to the recognition of divorce in the UK, whereby individual religious organisations can choose whether or not to recognise it or not, but it is state-recognised. We also support humanist groups being allowed to conduct same-sex marriages.

Alliance Party:

Yes/ Civil marriage should be available to same-sex couples on the same basis as different-sex couples. We do not believe that religious institutions should be required to conduct such marriages if they do not wish to do so.

DUP:

No. The DUP is opposed to marriage for same-sex couples and tabled a petition of concern ensuring the motion for Equality Marriage was blocked under the Northern Ireland Assembly’s cross- community voting rules. They blocked Marriage Equality motions a total of three times in 2013.

UUP:

This is a matter of conscience for the Ulster Unionist Party so each of our elected representatives, at all levels, have a free vote on it.

TUV:

No. TUV supports “traditional family values” in its most recent manifesto and is outspokenly opposed to Equal Marriage. They also call for Civil Partnerships to be abolished.

Workers Party:

Yes. The Workers Party supports Marriage Equality.

UKIP:

No specific information. UKIP councillor David Silverster infamously claimed flooding in the UK in 2013 was God’s revenge for legalising gay marriage.

People Before Profit

100%

Conservative Party of Northern Ireland:

No info available.

 

(N.B. ‘People Before Profit’ and the Ulster Unionist Party did not respond to the original survey questions. When we have them they will be uploaded and this post updated) 

(Disclaimer: this survey was NOT conducted by Slugger O’Toole – we encourage any parties featured or not featured to contact us) 

You can download the entire report here: LGBTQ Election 2015 Update1

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  • Reader

    Alliance party MLAs have voted against gay marriage, so it would be more reasonable to admit that it is a “matter of personal conscience” for Alliance as it is for the UUP.
    Or are Alliance planning to discipline and deselect their dissidents?

  • Granni Trixie

    I am not aware of what action if any was taken to discipline alliance people who did not support this policy but I am clear that party policy is to support gay rights including civil marriage or partnership whilst allowing that it is up to individual churches if they are to facilitate gay marriage services.

    I think what is often overlooked in such debates is the question of does the leadership in a party generate an inclusive culture in Which gay people have social space to be themselves and to contribute to policy and other activities.

  • JImmy Soitis

    EDITED-Danny Kinahan (UUP) voted in favour of gay marriage , and the NI Conservatives are clearly in favour. Its national party policy, with their party leader front man on it.

    Me smells a heavy stench of party political bias in this so-called “report”.

    “The report reached the surprising conclusion that only left wing parties are not bigots”

    Yawn.

    MOD-Bad language is not allowed, please keep it civil

  • Dan

    David Silverster isn’t a Northern Ireland UKIP politician. Why is he mentioned?

  • Turgon

    To be fair Dan he is no longer a UKIP politician at all. However, for an explanation for his mention I refer you to Jimmy Soitis’s insightful suggestion above.

    That said I am a bit perplexed as to the way the Q gets added to and left off the LGBT bit seemingly interchangeably. Also the poor old IA has been left off the LGBTQIA and even that discriminates against LGBTTIQQ2SA.

  • Ruth McCarthy

    Hi there Jimmy.
    I created this report as a queer activist to get people talking and to lobby parties. I made it with information readily available and with direct feedback from parties, all of whom were invited to participate.
    It is not, as you so eloquently put it, “bollocks”.

    Re: your two specific comments
    1. Someone else pointed out that two UUP member, not one, voted in favour of the marriage motion. This is being corrected, no problem. The UUP have also been given another opportunity to contribute and their own comments will be included in the next draft, hopefully available tomorrow and updated here.

    2. There is not one mention of LGBTQ issues, marriage or anything else, in the NI Conservative Party policies, documents, website etc. Not one. While the GB Conservatives may mention LGBTQ rights in their documents, they don’t do so here, my guess being because it wouldn’t go down well with their largely conservative (with a small c) target audience.

    I am not a member of any party, though of course I do favour those who are more progressive and say as much in my introduction.
    You are very welcome to write your own factual version.

    I can’t imagine it could be much different.

    If this document generates debate, then its work will be done.

    All the best

    Ruth

  • Ruth McCarthy

    I like the term queer. I use it. Some people don’t. Your point?

  • james

    The left is every bit as bigoted as the right, imho.

  • Ruth McCarthy

    I don’t think it’s particularly bigoted to prefer people who might want to treat you as an equal human being above those who don’t.

  • Turgon

    The point being that you are conflating assorted groups and appropriating them to your campaign without necessarily having their support which may annoy some. Equally some might argue you are leaving out groups which may annoy some of them.

    You state: “I like the term queer. I use it. Some people don’t.”

    That is worryingly arrogant from someone who claims to want to help the groups you claim you want to. More the antics of a self publicist with an agenda than one interested in helping people.

  • Guest

    Don’t know why my previous answer was disallowed. Trying again in brief.
    1. Correction to UUP 2nd marriage vote was pointed out yesterday and discussed on twitter. All fixed on the update, no problem.

    2. No mention of any LGBTQ issues at all on the NI Conservatives website/manifesto. Guessing it’s because their potential voters here are less progressive than in GB.
    3. The report it factually sound. Except for CISTA comment.

  • Ruth McCarthy

    Whatever you want to think, that’s up to you. I just created a lobbying document with factual information that aimed to get the community talking and parties thinking about their policies. If they didn’t take part, maybe they will next time. If it annoys them, maybe they’ll change their policies.
    That’s how lobbying works.
    People who are LGBTQ identify in a myriad of ways. We all have our own politics and identity. Queer is mine. I don’t lose sleep over it and I doubt anyone else does, I’m not that important.
    All the best.

    Ruth

  • The Firemen

    No he didn’t.

  • The Firemen

    That’s a fair point. Trevor Lunn and Judith Cochrane have consistently voted against Equal Marriage.

  • The Firemen

    Again fair point. Whilst both Trevor Lunn and Judith Cochrane have voted against Equal Marriage on a consistent basis, the Alliance Party as a whole is pro-Equal Marriage. The real test of party discipline will come if and when the DUP do not impose a ‘petition of concern’ on Equal Marriage and their votes may actually make a difference,

  • Turgon

    Except it is not “Equal Marriage.” It is not even equal marriage for homosexuals as the criteria for making, annulling and ending the marriage are different between homosexual and heterosexual marriage.

    There may be good reason for this but Equal Marriage it is not: not for homosexuals nor for the other groups the legislation leaves out. The legislation allows for Homosexual Civil Marriage: a novel addition to Heterosexual Marriage. There are also Civil Partnerships available to non biologically related same gender romantic / sexual couples. These partnerships are unavailable to anyone else.

  • Chingford Man

    There’s no equality when it comes to civil partnerships either. People living together who are not in a same sex relationship are prohibited from entering into a civil partnership. I wonder if this particular inequality matters to Ruth.

    Well done for flying the flag for good sense, Turgon. It must be a lonely battle on Slugger.

  • Chingford Man

    It’s meant to be a pathetic jibe at UKIP, even though Silvester was a member of the Tories when he made his daft remarks. Different standards, you see. It didn’t matter what he said when he was a Tory.

  • barnshee

    How many votes are in it?
    How much do the LGBT votes matter (no offence) to the tribal split?

  • Ruth McCarthy

    Yep, I totally agree that the Civil Partnership option should be extended to opposite sex couples.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Trevor Lunn has reconfirmed that he will be voting against gay marriage again on Monday.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The Petition of Concern at this point doesn’t have any real meaning as a majority of MLAs are already against equal marriage.

    If a majority of MLAs favoured equal marriage, it would be different. The pressure would then fall upon the abuse of the PoC mechanism.

  • Robin Keogh

    I am Gay and i refer to myself as Queer regularly, the Queer tag is often used as a homophobic slur but since the wider gay community have adopted the term in all strata it has lost its offensive flavour.

  • Robin Keogh

    And u have done a super job, many thanks for your efforts.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well if the stats are correct and 5% of the population identify as being lgbt then a quick calculation should answer your questions.

  • Robin Keogh

    James u are incorrect there, its rare u will hear a left winger come out and deny equality to a person based on their religion.

  • Robin Keogh

    In fairness, civil partnership was only ever adopted as a precurser to attaining full marraige. Every right in civil partnership is contained in civil marraige, moreover there has never been a popular call for opposite sex couple to have access to any kind of civil union other than marraige at anytime before during or after the creation of civil partnership.

  • james

    Au contraire, mon ami. It’s extremely common, just very selective. Fundamentalist Muslims, granted, tend to get a free ride from the left. Fundamentalist Christians regularly get a kicking from the left.

  • james

    Nor do I. But the same defence might be made of the right.

  • Dan

    ……unless there is an opportunity to make political capital by feigning offence and hurt feelings

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes of course Dan, gay people feign offense all the time, the suicide rate amongst the gay community is statistical proof of same. Nob.

  • Robin Keogh

    I am sorry jamie baby but you are quite wrong. The kicking you refer to by and large comes as a response to anybody or any group who willingly and knowingly discriminates on the basis of their personal religious views with no regard for the rights of others. The LGBT community for example are not insisting that same sex straight people should be legally obliged to marry each other. Christians should have the right to live their lives in truth to God, our Blessed Virgin and our Saviour as they so wish. But they cannot use their truth to deny others equal status under the law.

  • james

    Well, I’s not much as a Christian, and never had so much as a man crush on a fellow fellow so I don’t have a hound in this fight…but doesn’t the Bible condemn same sex relationd outright? That being so, to deny fundie Christians their right to be appalled at gay people is indeed a limitation of their right to religious freedom. If anything I suppose I would have to side with the gay community if anybody, but it does seem kind of a zero sum game.

  • Mister_Joe

    I have never been able to understand some people’s opposition (or worse) to the homosexual people within our wider community since no one is demanding that it be made compulsory (who said that it is ok so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses?). I think that some are afraid that such condition might be contagious. So stupid.

  • Dan

    Nob?

  • Simian Droog

    How? You can’t just drop that as an explanation, go on explain how the same defence can be made “for the right” And try not to contradict yourself from above.

  • Mister_Joe

    I think that civil partner relationships should be available to any couple, regardless of gender or familial relationship. It’s a simple matter of making it easier to cope with difficult financial demands that “single” people often experience, especially in the later stages of life. A State should have no “interest” in “marriages” – that’s for religious groups.The State should only recognize civil partnerships which can include marriages.

  • Reader

    Dan: Nob?
    He misspelled ‘Nób’, which is Irish for ‘Knob’.
    (That’s only a guess).

  • Dan

    Oh my, I am outraged.
    Wouldn’t have thought he would resort to name calling so readily, given the serious issue he was connecting it to.

  • Turgon

    Well that is still highly discriminatory. LGBTQIA specifically includes A which is for asexual. Civil partnerships (as with marriage) are only open to sexually / romanticaly linked couples. That discriminates against those who choose to have non sexual / romantic partnerships.

    Your position discriminates against say two farming siblings who have farmed together for decades, shared whatever limited propserity they have achieved yet have no legal partnership. This is completely unfair. It would also discriminate against say a person with disabilities and their long term voluntary carer.

    If we are going to end the historic discrimination exclusively in favour of opposite gender, married sexually / romanticaly linked couples (which it may well be completely correct to extent to others) we need to celebrate committed human relationships in all their forms.

    As such the state should stay out of the bedrooms of consenting adults.

    Marriage could and should be for the faith groups to marry those whom they choose whilst marriage as a civil concept should be abolished (as incidentally should the laws banning sexual activity between certain related adult persons).
    The only state recognised concept should be civil partnership between any person or persons and any other person or persons able to give valid consent.

    If one wants equality as you claim to then it must be equality for all. Anything else makes a mockery of the claim to equality. It becomes an Orwellian nonsense (all animals are equal but some are more equal than others).

  • Turgon

    Up to a point Joe. However, I fear the state is much too interested in Inheretance Tax to allow that simple, equitable and fair concept. Also sadly those who (rightly or wrongly) campaigned long and hard for homosexual marriage on the claim of fairness now seem to have lost interest in the assorted groups left out which leaves their claims of wanting fairness for all looking a little hollow.

    However, Joe your argument falls down in one word: “couple”. It should be no business of the state whether people have one of more than one partner provided all parties to the partnership are in agreement. Your position leaves out the second largest faith group on the planet and also discriminates against a number of sub sarahan African (and other) Christstian groups which practice polygamy (and indeed polyandry was practiced in Tibet).

  • barnshee

    As I suspected not a big enough or coherent group to make any difference in tribal voting

  • Robin Keogh

    Our lord actually never said a word about us fags but he had plenty to say about divorce however the good christians seem comfortable ignoring that. Equal marraige doesnt stop fundies from being appalled at anything it just stops them discriminating

  • Brian O’Neill

    Robin can you send me an email when you get a chance brian@sluggerotoole.com Thanks

  • james

    Well, yes, JC was all about the love, and at least platonic love between men. His main ire seems to have been reserved for the capitalists. Much of the problem comes from the Old Testament rending of God as a badass fiery divinity with whom one dare not trifle. Getting somewhat out of my element here though 🙂

  • james

    Hadn’t realized you were gay, Robin.

  • Zeno

    Oh good faggots is ok as well as queer.

  • patrick23

    4,5 and 6 are all Assembly issues

  • Seán Ó Ceallaigh

    The SDLPs three MPs have cast 4 votes out of a possible 12 in Westminster for Equal Marriage. Their MLAs have cast 24 votes out of a possible 42 in Stormont for same. In 2012 their support would have won the vote on the day in Stormont.

  • kalista63

    It’s who uses and in the context of their other views on the matter. There’s a way that homophobes use homosexual in a cold manner as if they are describing a medical condition, their motivations betrayed by the context of their comments.

    Queer as been appropriated for well over a decade now eg. the TV show Queer As Folk

  • kalista63

    But you’ve robbed them of one of their favourite insults. ?

    Considering the almost daily stories of ‘christian’ sensitivities, they’ve a cheek to talk about the LGBT/queer community being hyper sensitive. They’re the same people who don’t see the thousands of Muslims killed by ISIS for concentrating on the hundreds of christians they kill.

  • kalista63

    Us lefties are constantly pointing islamic abuse of the LGBT community, often in the context of our friends, like the Saudis, are no better than the Taliban yet gay and women’s rights are often sited as justification for the Afghan invasion.

  • james

    Well, it may interest you to know that homosexuality is extremely common in Saudi. More than anywhere else ive ever been, personally. I must admit, though, that I have never heard gay rights cited as a reason to invade Afghanistan. Or anywhere really.

  • kalista63

    A fundy being appalled at queers is like that UKIP woman on the TV being appalled at Blacks. These ‘Christians’ aren’t bringing any science to the table to support their argument.

  • kalista63

    The Arab hypocrisy on it is well known, well accounted in history and literature. Even the Taliban types are known for their ‘dancing boys’.

  • james

    Well, no, they aren’t. But then they don’t feel they have to in that (again, for them, not me) the word of God blows away anything science might muster. Mind you, science doesnt have clean hands either.

  • james

    Grim.

  • kalista63

    That makes no sense. Alliance can say they leave it to conscience but as those to have voted that way, they can’t say the party is for it.

  • james

    While we are about it, where do you stand on allowing two talebs to marry?

  • kalista63

    In that case, we’d have no argument against those who manipulate the Qu’oran to carry out stoning and killing of women.

  • kalista63

    Talib or taleb?

  • kalista63

    Never seen us Keffliks call ourselves taigs/Fenians or Blacks call themselves you know what?

  • james

    Depends on the region I believe

  • james

    Sans science, you mean? Well, I found the Arabs as a people to be difficult to persuade (in anything) but generally not bad people. Their choice of religion conditions them not to question things, though, and I was often enough surprised and horrified by the calm acceptance of some the excesses of their judicial system.

  • Jaime

    Let them eat ?;Censorship cuts no icing with i+i

  • james

    Ive only ever used the term queer to mean odd. I’m personally all for defanging offensive words, but in practice I tend to avoid them so as not to give offence. That said, it’s dicey ground to say that some people ought not to say it while others can. In the end it is just a word. The attitudes are what need adjusting, not the vocabulary.

  • Reinga

    These signs are all over Dublin at the moment, on the back of some of them are vote yes

  • Paula Thomas

    Except you forget friends and family of LGBTQIA people may also have their votes influenced too and that inflates the numbers. Also 5% in some constituencies could make a difference, a 5% swing would be enough to loose Belfast North, Upper Bann and South Antrim…

  • Paula Thomas

    Well it may or may not. Why should that prevent someone who doesn’t share those views from marrying her girlfriend?

  • Carl Mark

    well tht nonsense for a start!