In response to Health Minister Jim Wells’ resignation, Socialist Youth has announced that it intends to press ahead with a protest to demand an end to homophobic discrimination at Stormont.
Protest – We Demand LGBT Equality
Marriage Equality Now! End the Blood Ban! 5pm, Tuesday 28th April, Belfast City Hall
Organiser Courtney Robinson said:
“Jim Wells has been forced from office because of the public outrage in response to his homophobic comments. Doubtless, the DUP leadership were worried about losing support in the midst of an election campaign.”
“Wells will be likely replaced by another backward homophobe. However, his forced resignation is a warning to his successor and all the Stormont politicians that this bigotry will not be tolerated by the majority in Northern Ireland.”
“Now is the time to step up the fight for LGBT equality, demanding marriage equality, an end to religiously-motivated ban on gay men giving blood and all forms of discrimination.”
“Of course, Jim Wells is not the only homophobic dinosaur at Stormont. There are politicians on both sides of the sectarian divide who oppose marriage equality, for example. We can’t wait for change to come from the top. We need to get organised and build a movement to fight for marriage equality, end the illogical blood ban and fight all forms of homophobia.”
The Northern Ireland health minister at the centre of massive controversy over remarks about gay couples has resigned.
His resignation takes effect on May 11th and a new appointment will be made on May 12th.
Jim Wells said he wanted to help his wife Grace “during her fight for life.” He last week excused his comments due to the stress he was under looking after his wife. Mr Wells said pressures in his personal and private life as reasons for his hurtful comments last week at the South Down hustings where he linked same-sex relationships to child abuse.
Police are also making enquiries into an incident involving an “altercation” with a lesbian couple during an election canvas by Mr Wells in County Down. It is believed the Police Service of Northern Ireland is trying to establish if any offence was been committed.
The issues raised by Wellsgate will not disappear overnight.
South Down DUP MLA Jim Wells said,
“As many people are aware I have been focused on helping my wife during her fight for life. Those who know my family and I, know the last three months have been the toughest of our lives as we watched my wife, Grace, suffer two successive strokes and battle through major heart surgery. Like many families up and down the country who find themselves in similar circumstances our sole motivation has been to support Grace and give her all our support as she has battled for survival.
“On the issue of comments I have made which have attracted significant publicity, I have already said sorry for the offence caused and acknowledged that the comments were factually inaccurate. At no time did I set out to hurt or offend anyone and it has upset me greatly that the comments made have caused distress to some within our community. I am deeply saddened that some of those who represent a different viewpoint from me have attacked my family and me in a deeply personal, nasty and in some cases threatening way. Some of the outbursts on social media have been particularly abusive and menacing in nature.”
Well’s resignation comes as the Police Service of Northern Ireland have confirmed they received three complaints against an individual – understood to be Jim Wells.
The PSNI said they had received three complaints regarding the conduct of an individual in Rathfriland on Saturday evening.
It is alleged that Jim Wells, who was doing door-to-door canvassing, called at a lesbian’s couple’s house, and during a conversation, was critical of their lifestyle.
Police are still making enquiries.