Belfast Telegraph

Unionist gay marriage row

Ian Paisley jnr slams homosexual unions

By Marie Foy

A row broke out today after DUP politician Ian Paisley junior spoke out against homosexual unions when it emerged that David Trimble's political adviser had married his gay lover.

A row broke out today after DUP politician Ian Paisley junior spoke out against homosexual unions when it emerged that David Trimble's political adviser had married his gay lover.

Ulster Unionist top aide Steven King wed his long-time boyfriend Jean Claude in Canada recently and the pair spent their honeymoon in New York.

DUP Assembly member Ian Paisley condemned the marriage as "offensive".

Speaking in a morning newspaper, he said: "It is really astounding that David Trimble should have had a man such as this giving him advice - and must surely cast grave doubts on his own political judgment."

Today, Mr Paisley said that the UUP had actively opposed same sex unions and it was "perverse" that the party's key adviser should take part in such a ceremony.

"I think that homosexual relationships are wrong and are offensive to the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland."

He said his party was against civil ceremonies which conferred on gay people the same status as a marriage between a man and a woman.

"I think these sorts of relationships are immoral, offensive and obnoxious," he stated.

Mr Paisley said that he was not speaking from a position of hatred of homosexuals.

Ulster Unionist Chris McGimpsey accused Mr Paisley of opportunistically attacking the UUP.

He said that Mr King had been open about his homosexuality yet Mr Paisley had not spoken out against him before this.

"You can't sack people simply because they are homosexual," he said.

Controversial Bishop Pat Buckley called Mr Paisley "the baby dinosaur of the 21st century". He said he found it obnoxious that Mr Paisley should use words like "perverse" and "obnoxious" about homosexuals.

"I think the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland would be quite happy to live and let live."

Gay rights spokesman PA MacLochlainn criticised Mr Paisley for "schoolboy sniping". "Steven is a respected colleague, a far-sighted politician and one of the best things in the unionist party.

"He is a man of vision and he is precisely the sort of person David Trimble has most need of because he looks to the future instead of being mired in the past."

Mr King said he did not wish to make any comment.

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