Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Bigotry and homophobia are a core part of Northern Irish Protestantism

At least, they are if you believe the Democratic Unionist Party, which today vetoed Stormont's passage of a marriage equality bill on the basis that it undermined protestant rights:

Northern Ireland’s assembly voted narrowly in favour of gay marriage equality but the largest party in the devolved parliament, the Democratic Unionists, have since vetoed any change in the law.

Four independent unionist assembly members joined nationalists and others with 53 votes in favour of same sex marriage – just one vote ahead of the main unionist parties who oppose any reform.

But the motion in the regional parliament fell after the DUP used a “petition of concern” to argue that the law change that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Northern Ireland did not command sufficient cross-community support.

Under the complex rules of power sharing in the region, parties from either the unionist or nationalist community can use this mechanism if they feel there is not enough backing from Protestants or Catholics for particular legislation. It was designed to ensure no one community dominated the other following the 1998 Belfast agreement.

So, we have a mechanism designed to protect minority rights, being used by bigots to suppress the rights of other minorities.

Northern Irish Protestants are surely better people than this, aren't they? And if they are, they really need to find a better party to represent them.