A question of conscience… and printing

The question was raised by a Unionist MP in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions. The answer of British Prime Minister, David Cameron was that tolerance towards people of a different sexuality is an important part of being British. Now, remember, this question was raised by a Unionist MP, someone who fundamentally believes that Northern Ireland must be part of the United Kingdom… The case of the refusal to provide a service to bake a cake by Ashers Baking Company was drawn to my attention early yesterday. I read with great interest the comments of Gregory Campbell MP … Continue reading A question of conscience… and printing

Posted elsewhere: Well done Gibraltar! “More British than Finchley.”

This week, the Gibraltar Parliament made history. It passed a Civil Partnerships Bill which extends to all couples the right to enter a civil partnership. It is not limited to same-sex couples as currently in the United Kingdom. Any couple may register as civil partners, provided of course that neither party is already either married or in a civil partnership. Earlier this evening, I posted the following on Facebook: It looks like Andrew and I are moving to Gibraltar at just the right time. Well done to the Gibraltar Parliament for passing this legislation which goes even further than that in force in any part of the … Continue reading Posted elsewhere: Well done Gibraltar! “More British than Finchley.”

Belfast Judge Rules Gay Blood Ban “Irrational”

Originally posted on EILE Magazine:
Northern Irish Health Minister, Edwin Poots MLA A Belfast High Court judge has ruled that the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood in Northern Ireland is “irrational”, defeating Health Minister, Edwin Poots. Justice Treacy also ruled that Poots was in breach of the ministerial code by failing to take the issue before Stormont. Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK that currently enforces a complete ban on MSMs donating blood; England, Wales and Scotland lifted the ban in November 2011, replacing it with new rules, which allow blood from men whose last sexual contact… Continue reading Belfast Judge Rules Gay Blood Ban “Irrational”

Witches’ Brew? Alcohol, Sex and the Gay Scene

Originally posted on GMI Partnership:
What does the gay scene mean to you and your mates? What comes into your head when you picture Soho, Canal Street or your own local gay scene? Well, however you answered the question there’s a good chance that you were thinking about your favourite bars and clubs. Drinking is a big part of gay culture and even in the age of apps and hook-up sites many gay and bisexual men meet up on the gay scene.  Alcohol is such an endemic part of the gay scene that it sometimes appears harmless and unremarkable (I mean almost everyone has one in… Continue reading Witches’ Brew? Alcohol, Sex and the Gay Scene

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