Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Unionist parties are woefully out of touch

In a society where unionism seems to be consumed by an intolerant dominion theology, where fundamentalist Christianity pervades everything, it is gratifying to see that there is at least one progressive, non-nationalist party.

The Alliance Party is to be warmly congratulated on its policy motion at the weekend supporting both same-sex marriages and the legal authority of humanists to conduct marriage ceremonies, two highly desirable reforms already welcomed by most mainstream parties in other parts of the UK and Ireland.

Most Protestants in Northern Ireland do not share the reactionary and illiberal attitudes of the two main unionist parties, but are trapped by the constitutional issue into voting for them.

It is, therefore, time that they 'grew up' and began to reflect the more tolerant outlook of the majority of their supporters.

As Henry McDonald implies (Comment, September 3), they need to ask themselves what on earth their unionism stands for, if the values of most people in the Union are so alien to them.

BRIAN McCLINTON

Director, Humanist Association of NI

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