In a statement to gay newspaper Pink News, Jeremy Corbyn says: “LGBT rights are human rights. They must not be sold out by Theresa May and the Conservatives as they try to cling to power with the DUP.”
Am I alone in detecting a whiff of hypocrisy and vested interests behind his
Certainly the Democratic Unionist Party is socially conservative and takes a traditionalist Christian stance on homosexuality. That is something it has in common with many Roman Catholics in the province, despite the DUP being famously a Protestant force.
It is true that same-sex marriage is not recognised in Northern Ireland, unlike the rest of the United Kingdom. That is because it is a devolved matter. A “confidence and supply” arrangement where DUP MPs agree to vote with the Conservatives on crucial issues such as the Budget and the Queen Speech will make no difference at all.
There was never any prospect of gay marriage being imposed on Northern Ireland. Nor is there any possibility of it being repealed in the rest of the UK at the behest of the DUP.
Part of the controversy is because three years ago a Christian baker in Newtownabbey in Ulster refused to make a cake bearing a gay rights slogan. The baker was taken to court by the Equalities Commission and the case upheld. The DUP has proposed a “conscience clause” that would have protected the baker from legal action for acting in accordance with his religious beliefs.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell thought the verdict was a “defeat for freedom of expression”. Could it mean that “gay bakers could be forced by law to decorate cakes with homophobic slogans,” he wondered. So – libertarians as well as Christians will have been concerned by that case.
Still, no doubt Jeremy Corbyn has the row about the right to gay cakes in mind when attacking the DUP. Yet how consistent is he? Is he maintaining a sense of perspective?
Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba saw thousands being tortured for being gay. Yet when that Communist tyrant died last year Corbyn said that “for all his flaws” Castro was “a champion of social justice.”
Then we had Corbyn taking £20,000 to present some programmes for Press TV, a
state-owned Iranian propaganda channel. Corbyn only appeared five times, so he made pretty good money out of the channel. Homosexuality is a crime in Iran
punishable by execution. Yet this is the man who now condemns Theresa
May for “selling out” on gay rights.
Or then we have Hamas, that odious outfit whose members Corbyn described as his “friends”. Last year the terrorist group announced they had executed one of their own commanders for “moral turpitude”, their term for gay sex. According to the Palestinian National Authority, homosexuality is a capital offence.
By contrast, in Northern Ireland not only has homosexuality been legal for decades but there is also an equal age of consent and the right to civil partnerships. Last November the Northern Ireland Executive agreed legislation to offer pardons for men previously convicted of now abolished same-sex offences. That had the support of the DUP.
Some DUP MPs have made clear their objection to homosexuality – making the distinction that they have no hostility to homosexuals. It is a personal moral objection rather than a legislative attack. Indeed, it would seem they take a similar line to the Lib Dem leader Tim Farron – to the extent that we can work out what he really believes.
It is also the case that there have been some homophobic utterances from some DUP politicians. That is highly offensive. Yet for Corbyn, of all people, to attack the DUP is the most staggering opportunism.
Gays might feel more comfortable in Brighton then in Ballymena. But that is
a tiny distinction compared to the grotesque persecution seen in Iran, Palestine and Cuba’s Castro.
Yet far from speaking out, Corbyn collaborated with the executioners. You see, they were anti-western comrades…”for all their flaws”.