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Sinn Féin will stand against DUP bigotry

6 December, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Human Rights and Equality, South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane has said that Sinn Féin will take a firm stand against DUP bigotry after she branded a DUP motion due to be debate in the Transitional Assembly on Monday as homophobic and pointed to the discrimination faced by members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Ms Ruane said:

"The DUP know that this motion not only undermines the equality and human rights agenda but will also stir up the type of homophobic sentiment that leads to discrimination and violence. That they appear determined to do so for political gain is outrageous. That any political party, particularly one that would share the leadership of the Office of First and Deputy First Minister which is responsible for such issues, would seek to make political
gain out of bigotry is a disgrace.

"Sinn Féin are determined to stand against this type of bigotry whether it is in the Assembly, in OFMDFM or on our streets. People in the gay and lesbian community should not have to take this bullying alone, it is essential that across political and civic society and human rights groups that we stand together to protect and promote the rights of all.

"Sinn Féin believe that establishing a human rights culture here in the north of Ireland demands leadership from all of the political parties. It demands that we recognise and respect diversity and promote tolerance and protect the rights of all.

"This motion from the DUP is clearly homophobic in intention and retrograde in nature because the outlawing of discrimination in good and services against people because of their sexual orientation should be a shared objective. The gay and lesbian community need legislation to protect their rights because in significant and important areas there do not enjoy the same legal protections as everyone else and this is totally unacceptable.

"There is an onus on us to stand together and isolate those who preach or practice bigotry because as a society we need to send out the clearest message that whether it is an attack on the rights of people on the basis of sexual orientation, race, religion or disability that it has no place in a modern Ireland." ENDS

Note to Editors

Caitriona Ruane will be speaking at a Human Rights conference on 'Building a Human Rights Culture' tomorrow, Thursday 7th December in Belfast along with other political representatives including the DUP.

The DUP motion in the name of J Donaldson and G Dawson will be debated in the Assembly on Monday morning, 11th December.

The motion reads:

"That this Assembly notes the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (NI) 2006 have been laid before Westminster in advance of the Equivalent regulations for the rest of the UK and calls upon the government to withdraw these regulations and leave the issue to be determined by the NI Assembly upon restoration."

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