As ugly and vicious as Iris Robinson’s attacks on gays were, I cannot say I take much pleasure in joining the media to expose the details of her adulterous affair.

But the main issue here is one of moral authority. Even without explicit appeals to the rightness of her own conduct, a crucial element of such homophobic moral lecturing is the implicit positioning of the speaker herself as a model of virtue and moral uprightness. If she loses that superiority, the crux of her argument falls flat. When that argument serves discrimination and prejudice against gays and lesbians, it is only right that its faulty foundation be exposed.

Readers will recall that in mid-2008, UK Member of Parliament Iris Robinson publicly denounced homosexuality as “disgusting, nauseous, loathsome, shamefully wicked and vile,” and advocated reparative therapy to turn gay people straight. It has now been revealed that at around the same time she was being unfaithful to her husband, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson. She attempted suicide over the affair.

It has now been revealed that Robinson’s lover was then 19-year-old Kirk McCambley. Robinson, now 60, was 59 – over three times his age. In itself, this makes no difference to me – except for Robinson’s placing of herself as a paragon of traditional sexual morality.

Although Robinson did not name McCambley in her statement to the media, she did admit she had encouraged friends to pledge financial support his business venture. That business is now revealed to be a cafe, situated in a visitors center built by Castlereagh Borough Council, of which Robinson is a member.

So it appears Robinson has not only committed adultery, but she did so with a teenager, whom she also helped in ways that cast doubt on her political integrity.

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