Is it not the responsibility of our public representatives to respect the human rights and civil liberties for all whom they govern?If this is so, how is it that people like Lord Ken Maginnis can hold a seat in the House of Lords and simultaneously harbour such deep personal prejudices and hatred towards homosexuality?
The same can be said for any government minister or person in a position of power who holds any sort of prejudice, especially when that prejudice is against people these individuals decisions are affecting.
Lord Maginnis was a UUP MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone for 18 years, from 1983 to 2001. He was then given life peerage and currently sits in the House Of Lords as The Lord Maginnis of Drumglass.
In June this year on Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show when asked about his views on same sex marriage he responded that he was opposed to it as it was “unnatural” he believed that society should not “have imposed on it something that is unnatural” He went on to ask “Does that mean that every deviant practice has to be accommodated? Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?”
Comparing a relationship between two consenting adults of the same sex to the depravities of beastiality should in my opinion give great cause for concern for this man’s credibility as a Lord. In a shocking abuse of his freedom of speech – this man has been allowed to spread and preach these hate conjuring, prejudice forming ideas. Mr Maginnis clearly has a warped and perverse perception of homosexuality and for this reason I find it bizarre that he can still be granted the responsibility to oversee laws that affect these same people every day throughout the UK.
The leader of the UUP was quick to distance his party from Lord Maginnis’s comments saying that they where personal views held by him and did not reflect the party’s policy. Lord McGinnis has recently left the party describing the election of Mike Nesbitt as UUP leader a “mistake” and insisted he has no regrets about his comments on The Nolan Show. Lord Ken Maginnis still sits in the House Of Lords as an Independent and will continue to do so.
Such senior political figures need to set a much more positive example in our communities and should be held accountable for launching cruel, verbal tirades at minorities.
Had he have compared sex between two different minorities to beastiality, perhaps ethnic minorities, I don’t think he would be sitting so cosily in his house of Lords chair.
Unfortunately this is the clear discrepancy in how LGBT People are treated by numerous politicians in today’s world, failure to reprimand the individuals following such statements only serves to strengthen the resolve and encourage more of the same behaviour.
The statistics from the equality commission don’t lie, homophobic attitudes in our country are on the rise. How can we ever expect to make positive changes in social attitudes when there are “role models” and representatives actively promoting intolerance of homosexuality.
We need to stomp out homophobia at the very highest levels of government. It’s time the NI LGBT people were recognised and accepted as the productive, friendly and valuable community WE all know so well.