Politics

What you need to know about the DUP and LGBT rights

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The party Theresa May has just formed a government with have an alarming record on equality.

After her snap general election backfired, Theresa May has formed a government relying on the support of Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP’s record on LGBT and women’s rights is worrying to say the least. They are against equal marriage and a woman’s right to an abortion.

The Conservatives lost 12 seats in last night’s general election, leaving them 8 shy of the 326 needed for a majority government, which is why they have now joined forces with their “friends and allies” in the DUP.

This is troubling news for the LGBT community as the DUP have a very poor record on LGBT rights.

They have used a controversial veto mechanism to block legalising same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland a total of five times. Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK where equal marriage is still not legal, despite reports that 68% of the country’s population support it.

Also alarming is the “conscience clause” which the DUP supports. The introduction of such a clause would allow people and businesses to discriminate against others based on their religious beliefs.

Several of the party’s MPs are openly homophobic. DUP health minister Jim Wells has previously stated that a child brought up by a homosexual couple is far more likely to be “abused or neglected”.

Ian Paisley, who founded the party in 1971, has a history of opposing LGBT rights. He led a campaign named “Save Ulster From Sodomy” which tried to keep homosexuality illegal.

His son and North Natrim MP Ian Paisley Junior stated that he’s “pretty repulsed” by gay people, claiming that they “harm society”.

Stonewall have issued a statement saying:

“We share the concerns of countless LGBT people, and our friends, of all political persuasions who are deeply anxious about the potential Democratic Unionist Party involvement in the new government.

“The DUP have a poor record on LGBT rights. Although the party leader claims they are not anti-LGBT, the DUP have vetoed same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland five times, despite a majority of the public and representatives being in favour.

“A party than constantly misuses its veto in this way is not a party that shares Stonewall’s values or the values of most people across the UK.

“It’s vital that the Conservative Party stand firm on LGBT equality, and the Prime Minister makes that clear from the outset.”

You can read the full statement here.

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