Demand action on former health minister linking homosexuality to paedophilia
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On Friday 11th August 2017, Edwin Poots, DUP Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly published a tweet stating "Totally supporting Jim on this one, making children an icon of sexuality today, pedophilia [sic] tomorrow. Absolutely disgusting."
This was a reference to an article in the Belfast Newsletter, in which fellow MLA Jim Allister had referred to gay men as living "a life defined by sex". For further details of the background, please read this blog post on the website of the Rainbow Project, a health organisation that works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people in Northern Ireland.
Mr Poots's tweet, with its grossly offensive linking of the LGBTQ community with "pedophilia" is contrary to the Northern Ireland Assembly Code of Conduct, which includes the following principles:
Members should promote equality of opportunity and not discriminate against any person, treating people with respect regardless of race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, political opinion, marital status and whether or not a person has dependents.
9. Promoting Good Relations
Members should act in a way that is conducive to promoting good relations by tackling prejudice, promoting understanding and respect and encouraging participation between people on the grounds of different religion, political opinion, race, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability
Members should show respect and consideration for others at all times.
We therefore call upon the Commissioner for Standards to carry out a full investigation of these comments by Mr Poots. The people of Northern Ireland have shown, most recently by the record-breaking attendance at Belfast Pride, that they support their LGBTQ friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members. Together, we have moved beyond the prejudice, homophobia, transphobia and intolerance of the past into an inclusive and respectful present. We stand together to affirm and protect that reality.
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