Sinn Fein Calls on MP to Resign Over “Ex-Gay” Remarks

On Friday I posted about Northern Ireland DUP MP Iris Robinson, whose remarks that gays should seek therapy to “turn (them around” were met with protest from activists and other leaders.

IrisrobinsonThe comments, in which Robinson said “I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals – trying to turn away from what they are engaged in. I’m happy to put any homosexual in touch with this gentleman and I have met people who have turned around and become heterosexuals,” have sparked a furor: “John O’Doherty, a member of the South Belfast District Policing Partnership, said he has complained to police. ‘People like Mrs Robinson need to learn that their comments have consequences,’ he said. This is the second complaint in relation to the Strangford MP’s remarks.” Police are reportedly investigating.

Robinson’s husband has come out in her defense: “There is a legal obligation to ensure that no-one in our society is discriminated against. I have to say that even if there was no legal obligation I would be at the forefront defending anyone who was being discriminated against. And I know my colleague the member for Strangford (Mrs Robinson) would be alongside me in that.”

Today, the activist group Outrage! urged gay men to publicly “out” members of Robinson’s Democratic Unionist party: “We have always supported the protection of people’s privacy who lead a double life, where they are gay but maybe still have a family. However in circumstances where you are a member of a political party which openly espouses homophobia than we think it is entirely justifiable that members of that party be outed.”

Robinson’s remarks were in response to reports of a brutal gay bashing in the Northern Ireland town of Newtownabbey which took place last week.

Sinn Féin has called on Robinson to resign, saying she’s not fit to chair the Assembly health committee.


  1. Mark Wickens says

    Yet another case showing how free speech is being threatened in the UK. Expressing one’s religious views about the morality of being gay is not “incitement to hatred” and even if it were, that shouldn’t be outlawed. Incitement to physical violence, yes, prosecute that, but people can’t handle it if other people hate them? Most of us got over that after junior high school.

  2. Zeke says

    The SICKEST thing about this woman’s comment is that it was in response to a question about a gay man who had just been beaten to within an inch of his life and left to die a few days before and SHE is the not only the First Lady of Northern Ireland (wife of the First Minister and DUP leader) but she is also a Northern Ireland Assembly Member and a HEALTH MINISTER.

    Yet, according to MARK WICKENS, the most upsetting thing about this is that dear Ms. Robinson is being taken to task by HER CONSTITUENTS who she is SUPPOSED TO represent.

  3. says

    Zeke, no, it is not even mildly upsetting that constituents are taking her to task. I applaud that, as long as it’s confined to calling for her resignation and similar actions. What’s scary is that people are reporting her to the police and the police are investigating. Nothing she has done, however reprehensible you may find her ideas, should be illegal.

  4. RickT says

    We all know that bigotry has many faces; and Unionists seem to have made a good attempt at cornering the market.

  5. Bill Perdue says

    Just as in the US, there are two major right wing parties in England and its remnant colony in northern Ireland. It’s hard to say which of them is more bigoted.

    In England you have the rightwing Conservative and Unionist Party, the Tories. They oppose reproductive rights for lesbians and measures to curb violence due to hate speech. And they’re rabid islamophobic racists.

    In the English occupied north of Ireland the Democratic (sic) Unionist Party, the DUP led a decades long campaign using terrorism to promote their apartheid policies against the Irish. The DUP’s hatred of the GLBT communities is palpable – they’re termed “bible fascists”.

    Sinn Féin, the pro –nationalist all-Ireland socialist leaning party consistently supports GLBT equality. Recent polling the Republic indicates that 58 percent support full same sex marriage rights and only 26 percent support the inferior second class citizenship option of civil unions or civil partnership. The amazing thing is that even in a priest ridden nation like Ireland a total of 84 percent support us. In the Republic Sinn Féin and Labour support same sex marriage against the policies of major right wing parties, FF, FG and the Greens.

    It’s part of the reason that Sinn Féin continues to grow at the expense of the Greens and the majority parties. In the remnant colony in the north however, both SF and the SDLP decided, since it was going to become law anyway, to support the English civil partnerships law, a form of second class citizenship for which they were rightly criticized by GLBT groups.

    The DUP has always violently opposed the GLBT and women’s movement and worked to continue the apartheid-like conditions imposed on Irish working people. The DUP relies on the religious bigotry of Paisleys Presbyterian cult in their campaigns. The result was years of harsh communal violence. The right wing bigots who run the DUP and the Paisleyite cult should be prosecuted for hate crimes whenever they commit them.

  6. RickT says

    I just saw Iris Robinson on the news saying the she was speaking the word of god. That’s nice. She said that murders are redeemed by the blood of christ and homosexuals can be redeemed by the same blood of christ. That’s also nice to know. What a smug patronising self righteous bitch.

  7. says

    Iris Robinson made that viciously anti-gay speech hours after a young gay man was beaten and left for dead in her own state.

    That’s ballsy timing, but she won’t be silenced when it comes to marginalizing thousands of her most vulnerable constituents just as Jesus intended.

    She called homosexuality “disgusting, nauseous, loathsome, shamefully wicked and vile.” She’s Northern Ireland’s so-called First Lady. Talk about a PR disaster. She makes the state sound as welcoming as Zimbabwe.

  8. atheist says

    Whilst I understand the anger that people feel at this, I can’t help but think that giving people like the ghastly Mrs Robinson “the oxygen of publicity” (as Thatcher described it apropos of Sinn Fein back in the day) just helps their cause. Much better to ignore the ranting and raving of a dyed-in-the-wool barking mad fundie. Poor deluded thing that she is.

  9. says

    It’s actually not a good idea, on balance, I would suggest, to ignore the comments of a very senior political leader when she calls thousands of her own constituents “disgusting, nauseous, loathsome, shamefully wicked and vile.”

    She’s been all over the media for two weeks. She’s showing no sign she intends to reconsider.

  10. RickT says

    Dude ! You can’t let this shit go unchallanged. Think Westboro Baptist Church…it’s hate speech….making people think that gay people are somehow not quit”one of us “….to quote Thatcher again; Robinson even called us sinners! “Love the sinner not the sin” ! This kind of bourgois doublespeak is nothing more than bigotry dressed up. I know it’s exhausting but we really need to challange this toxic self validating shit everytime we hear it. And we need to do so in vast numbers. Sorry I’m so worked up about this …but I’ve had enough.

  11. Henry says

    Hey Bill,
    Isn’t it more correct to say the DUP has been using the FEAR of terrorism to maintain the division? SF is more closely related to the IRA, the acts of which the DUP has consistently brought up again and again as a wedge issue for the parties. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally for SF and think the DUP has been fear-mongering over the years, but to my knowledge they haven’t been responsible for any acts of terrorism. Sorry if I misread your comment, just wanted to clarify.

  12. Bill Perdue, RainbowRED says

    Henry, Paisley and the DUP bully boys killed far more Irish people more than the Parachute Regiment and the Black and Tans ever dreamed of. The DUP ally the Ulster Defense (sic) Force is still a terrorist front. The IRA publically destroyed their weapons after successfully defending the Irish in the occupied north for decades. The UDF is still armed and dangerous.

    Even the Brits thought long and hard about tying to stop DUP terrorism but in the end they needed Paisley too much. The BBC says “Secret Public Record Office files from 1977 show senior Stormont officials believed Ian Paisley was associated with loyalist paramilitaries. The remarks made by the officials reveal they considered arresting the now first minister for conspiracy. “

  13. says

    I find Bill’s comments very funny. He clearly has no understanding of the history of Northern Ireland, or the other consituants nations that make up the UK.

    Anyway, thats actually besides the point. Northern Irelands politics has been driven by ‘religon’ far more than the rest of the UK. The political parties are divided on ‘relgious’ affliation.

    Is it then any surpirse that an MP from Northern Ireland would make such stupid comments?

  14. Bill Perdue, RainbowRED says

    Evileuropeans comments prove that he’s a clueless chucklehead. Obviously a few English are still a bit deranged after
    watching your empire dwindle to a dozen or so tiny islands and the remnant of occupied Ireland.

    The “UK” is as much a fiction as the USSR, the British Empire and Der Grosse Deutche Reich were, and it’ll fail for the same reasons. Obviously after centuries of brutal military occupation the Irish want them out and so do the Scots.

    Religion is just a cover for the attempt to impose apartheid on the Irish by English colonists and the military. To say otherwise is ahistorical and well, stupid. It’s like saying racism wasn’t invented by the English to justify the slave trade.

    Give us a break,evil. We used to be under the heel too so we’re not entirely ignorant about English history. We were part of you silly empire until we got smart and kicked your asses out.