Gay election candidate labelled ‘filth’, ‘sick in the head’ and ‘disgusting’

Joe Williams May 5, 2016
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The candidate was verbally abused as he canvassed with supporters.

SDLP candidate Connor Duncan was distributing leaflets after Mass at St Mary’s Church in Glenravel when he was subjected to homophobic abuse.

Mr Duncan is hoping to become a member of Northern Ireland’s Assembly in today’s elections and took to the streets to canvass votes.

Gay election candidate labelled ‘filth’, ‘sick in the head’ and ‘disgusting’

However, he and his supporters were shocked when a woman called him “disgusting”, told him he was “sick in the head” and that he was “filth” outside a Catholic Church in Antrim.

She also blocked the car park exit with her car and refused to move until Duncan and his canvassers left the church grounds.

“I was shocked at this barrage of abuse because I have never really experienced it before,” the 28-year-old candidate told The Irish News.

“It was a bit upsetting, the fact that that’s what people are saying about you is not a nice feeling. You can feel a bit degraded.”

He said the woman told him he had a “mental illness”, but “can be cured if you want to be cured”.

“She said ‘There’s something wrong with you, you can’t call yourself a Catholic, you chose this lifestyle’,” Mr Duncan added.

Despite the woman’s behaviour, Mr Duncan said it has not dissuaded him.

“It made me more focused, that there’s people out there who need someone to stand up for them in the LGBT community – and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.

Same-sex marriage is legal in England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland – but continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Irish Assembly backed equal marriage by a vote of 53 to 51 last year – but the DUP used peace process powers to override the democratic process and block equality for a fifth time.

Gay election candidate labelled ‘filth’, ‘sick in the head’ and ‘disgusting’

The party released its first manifesto last month under new leader Arlene Foster, in which it pledged to keep blocking equality indefinitely.

Tucked away near the back of the manifesto, the party promises: “The DUP has stood by its commitment to family values and marriage and will continue to do so.”

Watch our alternative take on the DUP’s election video below:

More: DUP, election, Gay, LGBT, Northern Ireland

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