First Minister wants to ‘move Northern Ireland forward’ – pity his colleague in Health department is set to take us backwards


In October 2012 the High Court in Northern Ireland ruled that the ban on same-sex couples here adopting children is unlawful. The Court of Appeal upheld this decision in June of this year when the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s appeal was dismissed. Today we hear that the DUP Minister of Health, Edwin Poots MLA is appealing this decision to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week the Rt Hon Peter Robinson MP MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland wrote an opinion piece for the Belfast Telegraph, it is reproduced helpfully on the DUP website. At the top of that page on their site the DUP say that the First Minister

argues that a peaceful future can only be built on mutual respect, tolerance and an unwavering commitment to the rule of law and the democratic process.”

Well I have news for him, the actions of his Executive colleague suggest that the DUP does not like it when the law says one thing and they want to do the opposite. As John O’Doherty from The Rainbow Project says,

It is not the place of the courts to implement the personal prejudices of Ministers.”

Like the President of NUS–USI, Rebecca Hall, I think that this is disgraceful that the Minister is using public money to fund this action.

Does the Minister not accept the ruling of the High Court as well as that of the Court of Appeal? Does he believe that the Northern Ireland government is above the law?

Rebecca Hall today said,

It is appalling that one of Northern Ireland’s government ministers could take such action. In bringing this to the Supreme Court and not accepting previous rulings, he will be bringing shame on Northern Ireland.”

John O’Doherty from The Rainbow Project commented on the news that the Court of Appeal had given Edwin Poots leave to appeal,

While we are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has granted leave to petition the Supreme Court, we remain unwaveringly confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the decisions of the lower courts.

‘At no stage throughout this lengthy and costly process has Edwin Poots provided any evidence as to why same-sex and unmarried couples should be denied the opportunity to apply to be adopters. … by continuing this farce, Edwin Poots is simply denying children the right to be placed in loving and stable homes.”

This is not Edwin Poots’ only case of discriminatory practice with regard to gay issues. His department still upholds the ban on gay men giving blood despite a change in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Back in 2005 on July 26th when Lisburn City Council was debating the use of the Cherry Room for civil partnerships as well as for civil marriages,

Alderman Edwin Poots (DUP) said civil partnerships were not weddings and that the new law was ‘wrong and immoral and sticks in the throat’. – Jeff Dudgeon on Slugger O’Toole

The DUP did not learn with the Save Ulster From Sodomy campaign in the 1970s and early 80s. Apparently the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling in Dudgeon v United Kingdom.

The Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982 (No. 1536 (N.I. 19) was passed into law by the Queen in Council (actually HM The Queen was out of the country and two Counsellors of State acted for HM: HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon).

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (c. 33) passed into law in the Westminster Parliament, and even Lisburn City Council now celebrates civil partnerships. What happens in other council areas with a lot of DUP councillors is another matter…

When will the DUP learn? It is time for the Executive to stop this wastage of public money on a court case that stops moving Northern Ireland forward.

Note

Peter Robinson’s website seems to have some error at the moment.

Looks like someone has got a new website coming?
Looks like someone has got a new website coming?

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