Friday, 30 January 2015

No to the Conscience Clause

Yes tomorrow it may be cold, but a lot of us are assembling at 2pm in Derry/Londonderry 3pm in Belfast and Newry to make our feelings heard about Paul Givan's DUP sponsored "private" member's bill that is currently out to consultation that seeks to rip apart the equality act.

It is a protest against the so called "conscience clause" from a party that has no conscience.

This Thursday we heard a DUP health minister tell BBC's The View that he would have to look at expert opinion on the number of hospitals that Northern Ireland needs. This is the same health minister who is backing the decision of his party colleague and predecessor who ignored expert advice to maintain a total lifetime ban on MSM (men who've had sex with other men) giving blood.

It comes from a party that have failed in over 8 years to publish and action a sexual orientation strategy that was first consulted on back in 2006. A strategy that if published would have dealt with the issues that their knee-jerk conscience clause should not have had to deal with. But then the reason why the delay is probably because the other parties, and public consultations, have not agreed to conscientious objection apart from those already laid out in the equality act regulations.

We've also had a DUP minister for Finance and Personnel, Sammy Wilson, say that he would even rather not have had civil partnerships, when Stormont was debating Equal Marriage in 2011.

The thing is the DUP don't want LGBT Northern Ireland citizens to have equality. In fact they'd far rather take it all away if they could. The UUP sleep walk behind them into the lobby opposing any LGBT equality motion before the Assembly and with only a couple of exceptions the two main unionist parties behave on LGBT issues as if there were no gay protestants, loyalists and unionists in Northern Ireland. They seem to vote on purely sectarian lines to prevent every move towards LGBT equality yet want to be on a par with GB, somewhere where LGBT people have more equality and less discrimination than here.

Many of us left Northern Ireland in the 70s, 80s and 90s because of the backwardness of the Unionists when it came to LGBT equality. But that is something that I am hearing once again from the young people LGBT and allies who cannot stand the way the DUP and UUP are not listening to people, but only listening to church leadership (who don not even reflect their entire memberships) on matter of LGBT equality and other issues.

We are a democracy not a theocracy, the people demos decide what happens not gods theos. 

I want to be able to go about my live as any other citizen would, entering businesses, shops or restaurants convinced that I will be served, not at the whim of the owner who may object to something I cannot change (like my hair colour), or remove (like a football jersey), or leave at the door (like smelly boots).

That is why I will be standing in the cold with hundreds of others saying No to the Conscience Clause this afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment