The Irish Republican Socialist Party condemns the DUPs proposed bill which would allow discrimination against LGBT people under the guise of “religious conscience”, and we condemn the Catholic hierarchy’s support for this hideous assault on LGBT people.
When Ashers Baking Company refused to bake a cake for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia they were simply wrong. They expressed a public and confident “lunatic Pastor McConnell type” hypocritical prejudice.They claimed that making a cake with a pro-same sex marriage slogan would violate their religious beliefs, thats rubbish, the bakery should be boycotted. We welcomed the North’s Equality Commission stating it would take action against the bakery for discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
DUP MLA Paul Givan stepped into the fray with a Private Member’s Bill which would grant an exemption to equality law for “religious conscience”, in short allowing businesses to discriminate and criminalise LGBT people as long as the owners justify it by their religious beliefs.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people people remain marginalised in Ireland, and whenever reactionaries in politics and religion are looking for a target to abuse, LGBT people are a popular choice.
There’s nothing more dangerous than to enshrine in law the principle that it’s acceptable to discriminate against some group just because someone harbours strong feelings against them due to religious beliefs. The DUP was founded by the anti-Catholic arch-bigot Ian Paisley, yet the Catholic hierarchy feels comfortable supporting this bill because if there’s one thing that religious reactionaries of all stripes can generally agree on, it’s their hatred for LGBT people.
The Catholic hierarchy has a long history of using its wealth and influence to promote the idea that civil law should be as hostile to LGBT people as Church law is. There is nothing saintly about abusing power to persecute a group of people, nor should civil law be held hostage by religious demands.
Equality law is a farce if exemptions are given to allow religion to determine who can and can’t be discriminated against. Hand in hand, the DUP and the Catholic hierarchy are marching to the drumbeat of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.
As a revolutionary party, we speak for the marginalised and the oppressed and we stand against all reactionaries, whether they be the DUP or the Catholic hierarchy. The IRSP has a 40-year history of supporting the liberation of LGBT people, demanding full equality in all spheres of life.
We recognize that LGBT liberation requires more than just reform, it also requires a revolutionary change in society. Full sexual and gender liberation for all people can only happen if existing social institutions are abolished and the archaic values they represent are swept aside with them. We demand an end to religious bodies, and political parties motivated by religion, attempting to impose religious beliefs on society and using them to justify the dehumanization of LGBT people.
No concessions should be made to bigots, no matter who they are or how they cloak their prejudice.