Current Affairs

Orangeman Grand Master walks lesbian daughter down the aisle in spite of organisation’s anti-gay views

Jasmine Andersson February 26, 2018
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BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Members of the Orange Order and their supporters take part in the Twelfth of July parade on July 12, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The controversial flashpoint has seen many outbreaks of serious public disorder in the past due to contentious parades. This mornings parade passed off peacefully with no nationalist protestors lining the Orangemen's route past the interface, a move which many political commentators regard as progress between the two communities. The annual 12th of July parades mark the anniversary of the protestant King William of Orange's victory over the catholic forces of King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

An Orangeman has been praised for attending his daughter’s civil ceremony in spite of the fact that the organisation forbids homosexual members.

The Orange Order’s Grand Master, Spencer Beattie, who is the leader of the Protestant fraternal group, proudly walked his daughter Lesa Beattie down the aisle as she married her partner, Melanie Atkinson in a service in Carrickfergus on Saturday.

“I’m all for equality and people having the right to make their own choices,” said the father to the Belfast Telegraph.

Beattie, who was installed as the society’s Grand Master on Valentine’s Day, has been praised for being “a father first and an Orangeman second.”

“Fair play to Spencer, it proves we aren’t all dinosaurs and shows how much love he has for his daughter,” said an Orange Order member to to the publication.

“The Orange Order may have its rules, but these really don’t matter when it comes to ensuring the happiness of your child.

“As Spencer has rightly shown, he’s a father first and Orangeman second.”

As it stands, LGBT+ people are banned from the Protestant fraternal order, which could mean that the Grand Master will land himself in trouble with some fellow Orangemen.

The previous Grand Master of the organisation, Stuart Brooker, said that gay people could no join the protestant order because “homosexuality is wrong”.

He added: “We’re a Christian organisation and therefore we believe in what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong,” he said in 2015.

“That doesn’t mean we are anti-homosexuals, LGBT people or we hate people. I personally don’t agree, I believe homosexuality is wrong because the Bible teaches me it is wrong.”

Upon being elected, Beattie said that he will “promote the Christian values of the institution.”

“It is an enormous honour and privilege to have been elected as the county grand master of the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast,” he said during his acceptance speech.

“I am fully aware of the responsibility that has been bestowed upon me but will do my utmost to serve the interests of our membership across the city; and in so doing promote the Christian values of the institution, and its rich cultural heritage and traditions.”

Since 2004, Northern Irish same-sex couples have been granted the right to have civil partnerships.

However, the battle to legalise same-sex marriage is still in flux.

While LGB+ couples who have been married outside of the country will have their marriage recognised within the country, couples are still not allowed to marry in the country.

The Orange Order, which is strongly linked to British Unionism, also boasts branches across the Scottish Lowlands and parts of West Africa, including Togo.

Related topics: Belfast, Europe, Ireland, Ireland, lesbian, LGBT rights in Northern Ireland, same sex marriage

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