[Updated 06/07/08] Northern Ireland politician Iris Robinson, a Democratic Unionist Member of UK Parliament, has provoked criticism by recommending ex-gay therapy, claiming that she has met people who have “turned around and become heterosexual.”
The Spokesman [sic] for Health, Youth and Women in the Northern Ireland Assembly, and wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, told the BBC she knew a Christian psychiatrist who had helped gays to “turn away from what they are engaged in,” adding that she would be “happy to put any homosexual in touch with this gentleman.”
Her comments came on Radio Ulster today, two days after a man was left for dead following a violent homophobic attack in the Northern Irish town of Newtownabbey. She condemned the attackers, but insisted that her faith teaches her to “love the sinner but hate the sin.”
Mrs Robinson’s opposition to homosexuality is not new. Last month she decried gay parenting during a parliamentary debate:
Can you envisage down the road a child going to primary school and being collected by two females or two males and the bullying and the abuse that these children will be exposed to?
Or going into the parents’ bedroom and finding two women making love or two men making love? And that’s natural for a child to see?
There has also been controversy over unconfirmed reports that Mrs Robinson, who attends an Elim Pentecostal church in Belfast, referred to homosexuality as an “abomination,” describing it as “disgusting, nauseous, loathsome, shamefully wicked and vile,” and saying it is “an offence to God, an offensive act and something that God abhors.”
Sinn Féin’s Education Minister Catríona Ruane responded by reminding the MP of her duty to respect equality:
There are equality laws in the north of Ireland … I think it is really important that politicians play a leadership role and that leadership role should be not to say anything that could possibly inflame the situation or cause further distress.
(Extra H/T: Jimbo)