Sexual Orientation Strategy: Dragged Out

Oral Answers to Questions — Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 27th April 2015.

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Photo of Rosaleen McCorley Rosaleen McCorley Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 27th April 2015

T2. Ms McCorley asked the First Minister and the deputy First Minister whether the First Minister’s party will commit to signing up to a sexual orientation strategy that tackles prejudice, given that it is clear from Jonathan Bell’s earlier remarks that there is an attempt to drag out this issue. (AQT 2402/11-15)

Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP

The Member must have been listening to a different Jonathan Bell than I was. Nothing he said indicated that there was an intention to drag this issue out. The strategy undergoing consultation and being prepared in the office will come to the Executive as a whole for approval. I imagine that that will take its own pace as it goes through the issues. I can think of a number of issues that are being delayed at an Executive level that the Member is not enthusiastic to have pushed through but that would have a very profound impact on the future of the Assembly and Northern Ireland.

Photo of Rosaleen McCorley Rosaleen McCorley Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat. Does the Minister agree that there is a serious issue of public confidence here and that his party needs to restore that? Does he also accept that, given that one of his Ministers has had to resign, there are issues of human rights? Does the LGBT community not have the human right to be able to get married?

Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP

Again, we come back to the definition of marriage. I suspect that the Assembly discussed that for some considerable time before Question Time began. The definition of marriage that many of us recognise is that it is an ordinance handed down by God for the procreation of children to ensure that a man and a woman can get married. If there is a same-sex relationship, that is catered for — if I can use the term — within the scope of the existing law by way of a civil partnership. I cannot understand why we have to redefine the God-given term of marriage to ensure that it covers something that already exists under the law by way of a civil partnership.