The Tradition Unionist Vote has published its response to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister's (OFMDFM) draft Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Programme.
Here are some telling phrases with my response:
"We strongly believe that respect for the Unionist/Protestant marching tradition is a key indicator of whether or not this country is genuinely moving forward."
I'm sorry to be truly moving on this should not be the be all and end all. We have people from different countries now living in Northern Ireland. We have people of multiple-identities and indeed family that cross over previous diversities in our society. The sooner our society here in Northern Ireland reflects this the better.
"TUV objects strongly to the commitment within the CSI Programme to publish a sexual orientation strategy (1.9).
"TUV is astonished that there is not one word of recognition of the contribution which nurturing the traditional family unit can make to a cohesive society within the CSI Programme while at the same time there is a commitment to publish a sexual orientation strategy.
"It is patently obvious that there is already a more than enough legislation to protect and promote this interest group. There is no statutory justification or requirement for the proposed strategy. It is an obvious sop to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lobby demanded by Sinn Féin/IRA and meekly accepted by the DUP."
To call for recognition of a minority grouping, which happens to cross sectarian, racial, ability, with/without dependents lines is probably a true reflection from both the unionist and nationalist voices. To dismiss it as a 'sop' instead of seeing it as standing up even for Traditional Unionist people who are LGB or T (yes there are some in the LGBT community here) is a failure to speak out and use that voice.
As for the commitment, which the OFMDFM has said will not happen before 2012. The same department commissioned a harrowing investigation into homophobic harassment and violence in 2003 which has yet to be acted upon throughout the executive. This is a dragging of the heels that has gone on long enough. The 'commitment' is just another 'commitment to procrastinate'.