Current Affairs

Conservative Party agrees deal to rule with anti-LGBT Democratic Unionist Party

Josh Jackman June 26, 2017
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The Conservatives sign a deal with the DUP (Getty)

The Conservative Party has signed a deal with the anti-LGBT Democratic Unionist Party.

The agreement, which will see the DUP’s 10 MPs support Theresa May’s minority government in key votes, falls short of a formal coalition.

There was no mention in the agreement of LGBT rights, which Arlene Foster’s ultra-conservative Northern Irish party has constantly positioned itself against.

Theresa May and Arlene Foster
Theresa May and Arlene Foster (Getty)

Foster said her party was “delighted that we have reached this agreement, which I think works, obviously, for national stability.”

Theresa May told the DUP that the two parties “share many values,” according to the Press Assocation.

The DUP has previously supported the introduction of a ‘conscience clause’ to protect religious people who want to discriminate against anyone who is LGBT.

This means LGBT people could be refused service or turned down for jobs simply because of their sexuality or gender.

The DUP has also stalled all progress on equal marriage in Northern Ireland, attempted to retain a lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, and opposed same-sex couples adopting children.

It was revealed last week that DUP leader Arlene Foster had sent letters to the Scottish government seeking to interfere over equal marriage.

The Scottish government published the letters, which Foster previously claimed she could not recall the existence of.

Foster had appealed to the Scottish Government to exempt Northern Irish civil partnerships from a law permitting civil partnerships to be converted to marriages.

The party has a long history of homophobic rhetoric, and continues to employ peace process powers to override votes in favour of equal marriage in the Northern Irish Assembly.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster recently insisted gay people don’t really want to get married anyway.

She said: “This suggestion that every single person who’s a homosexual wants to change the definition of marriage is actually wrong.

“I know plenty of people in that community who don’t want to see marriage redefined and are quite content to live in partnership…it’s all become a bit of a storm in a teacup.”

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A DUP minister previously branded LGBT Pride events “totally repugnant”.

May pledged to PinkNews that the Gender Recognition Act would be reformed in the next parliament, saying that “the legal process to change their gender can be distressing, so changes do need to be made.”

It remains to be seen how a partnership with the extremely conservative DUP would affect this promise.

The Tories will provide up to £1.5 billion as part of the agreement, according to the BBC.

Reactions to the deal have ranged from outrage to humour.

Related topics: Conservative Party, deal, democratic unionist party, Downing Street, DUP, Government, Northern Ireland, Politics, stormont, tories, UK

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