Council condemns DUP politician who said homosexuality should be illegal
Mid Ulster Council has passed a motion condemning a councillor for the Democratic Unionist Party – who claimed that homosexuality should be against the law.
Magherafelt councillor Paul McLean made the claim last month, telling the BBC of homosexuality: “The biblical perspective is against it and I take that view.
“It goes against the Bible’s stance – so I don’t believe it should be legal.”
First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson had refused to punish him, claiming that “entitled to that opinion” – but his local council will not tolerate his comments.
The council this week passed a motion by a vote of 23 votes to nine calling on McLean to retract and apologise for his comments.
Sinn Fein’s Caoimhe O’Neill had proposed the motion, telling the Mid Ulster Mail: “It is regrettable that in the opening years of the 21st Century that I must table a motion to rebuke the DUP’s Paul McLean for his most unhelpful and insensitive comments.
“Our LGBT community in Mid-Ulster like elsewhere contribute so much in terms of positivity to our community and they deserve respect.
“We should always remember the unseen devastation that has been caused by prejudice against the gay community.
“The sense of isolation, self-harm, the suicide rate amongst many young gay people is something that must be tackled once and for all.”
McLean hit out at the council for proposing the motion – but according to the Tyrone Times revealed he had changed his mind on the issue.
Referring to the Troubles, he asked: “What right does Sinn Fein have to lecture me on my ethics given their history?”
However, he added: “I’m not a biblical scholar but I will defend Christians’ rights to uphold their beliefs.
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“At the time I made the comments I didn’t believe homosexuality should be legal because it is against biblical teaching.
“However, when I consider this more carefully, I concede that although the bible clearly lists homosexuality as a sin, I don’t believe that all sins are criminal offenses and punishable by law.
“It was not my intention to cause offence to anyone, and I want the Mid Ulster area to be a place where everyone is welcome.”
Protests will be held in Belfast next month as the DUP continues to block same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.