A Christian group notorious for its opposition to gay rights has backed an MP who said homosexuality is disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile and claimed gay people can be “cured.”
The Christian Institute claimed that reports to police that Iris Robinson’s comments may have broken laws on incitement to hatred are an attempt to intimidate her.
There have been calls for Mrs Robinson, who is the wife of the First Minister of Northern Ireland, to resign as chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly health committee after her comments on BBC Radio Ulster last Friday.
Mrs Robinson is also MP for Strangford.
A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk that an investigation is underway but would not comment on the number of complaints.
There are also complaints being lodged with the Westminster authorities and the standards board overseeing the Assembly.
“Vexatious complaints have caught on in some circles as an attempt to intimidate people from expressing orthodox Christian views on sexual ethics,” Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute told the Belfast Newsletter.
“If the PSNI take these complaints seriously and go to the trouble of investigating Iris or pass a file on the matter to the Public Prosecution Service it could be perceived as taking action which aims to have a chilling effect on the freedom of speech.”
Last year the Institute claimed that the new offence of incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation restricts free speech, targets Christians and will stifle debate about homosexuality.
The fundamentalist group previously failed to stop the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations which protect LGB people from discrimination in goods and services.
It objected to the extension of incitement to racial hatred laws to sexual orientation as “homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle. Many ‘gay rights’ activists would say that their sexual orientation is a choice, not a genetic characteristic.”
Christians are protected by law from incitement to religious hatred.