Politician: I ‘misspoke’ when I opposed same-sex relationships
A Northern Irish politician has said he isn’t judging anyone’s “lifestyle” – after appearing to condemn same-sex relationships.
Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy made the comments on BBC Northern Ireland’s Sunday Politics segment yesterday, during a discussion on marriage equality – which continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland.
During the debate, Mr Kennedy – who is seeking re-election to Stormont – said: “A lot of these issues will remain matters of conscience for members of the Ulster Unionist Party.
“My personal view on abortion is I’m opposed to extension to Northern Ireland… and I also am opposed to same-sex relationships, but other colleagues take a different view.
“We will look seriously at all of these issues.”
He was branded a “disgrace” online for appearing to condemn gay relationships as a whole, but told the Belfast Telegraph that he misspoke.
He said: “I am happy to clarify my comments. I simply misspoke and meant to say ‘marriage’ and not ‘relationships’.
“Everyone is entitled to make their own decision on their individual lifestyle.”
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Meanwhile, Nigel Dodds of the Democratic Unionist Party declined to say whether his party will continue to block all progress on the issue – despite the DUP manifesto promising to.
Mr Dodds said: “On the issue of lodging petitions of concern, we will wait to see the circumstances in which the issue is brought forward.
“Arlene has made it clear she will make the decision then along with the Assembly Members.
“I’m not going to speculate… our position is very clear. We’ve been consistent on this matter, we are not in the business of redefining marriage.
“We want to see people treated properly and equally and with respect, but we have a position on that.”
Mr Dodds claimed that people “on the doorsteps” were more interested in health and education than equal marriage.