Belfast Telegraph

Actor Conleth Kane slams 'homophobic' DUP over marriage equality

By Eamon Sweeney

A singer and actor from Northern Ireland has labelled the DUP a "homophobic" party and has accused them of "cherry picking" their allegiance to the United Kingdom.

Conleth Kane, who has appeared in hit TV shows such as Casualty, said he could not wait to leave the country as a child as he suffered so much abuse because he is gay.  He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I genuinely feel that I am considered to be a second class citizen in Northern Ireland. I was very driven to escape my home from a young age. I could never express who I was."

Read More: Church of Ireland faces north-south divide over gay marriage stance

The London-based performer, who is from Lurgan, also said in an interview with the Gay Times this week: "The DUP are a homophobic party. I don't care what people say. I'm done with it.

"This is a party who is obsessed with membership of the Union of Great Britain, yet they refuse to follow British rule, and cherry pick when they feel like agreeing with Westminster." Same-sex marriage is legal in all other parts of the UK except Northern Ireland and in 2015 the Republic of Ireland amended their constitution to allow people of the same gender to marry.

"England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic all recognise gay people as equal, but in Northern Ireland, the DUP enforce inequality," Mr Kane added. "My only option was to go across the water and make a career for myself.

"By taking this stand the DUP are legitimising the view that it is alright to label people as 'different.' My school days, supposedly the happiest of your life, were horrific, because I was 'different'. They are hypocrites."

In response to Mr Kane's comments, a spokesperson for the DUP said: "The DUP does not support discrimination against anyone because of sexual orientation.

"The redefinition of marriage, however, is a devolved matter and it is for the Northern Ireland Assembly rather than Westminster to decide on this issue."

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