A Democratic Unionist Party politician in Northern Ireland who reportedly blamed Hurricane Katrina on gay people and said Aids was the result of the “filthy practice of sodomy” has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year honours list.
Maurice Mills, the DUP councillor for Ballymena, is described by the local newspaper as a “committed born-again Christian”.
Listed as “Alderman Maurice Turtle Mills”, the controversial politician has been recognised “for services to local government”.
Mills said that Katrina, which killed 1,300 people, was God’s revenge for an annual gay pride event called Southern Decadence.
“The media failed to report that the hurricane occurred just two days prior to the annual homosexual event called the Southern Decadence festival which the previous year had attracted an estimated 125,000 people,” said Mills.
“Surely this is a warning to nations where such wickedness is increasingly promoted and practised.”
The comments prompted gay rights activists to stage a protest in Ballymena in early 2006, as well as demanding that Mills apologise.
But Mills has never retracted the comments, and the DUP resisted calls to condemn them.
“There is a principle at stake here and that is homosexuality is a sin before almighty God,” the councillor said at the time.
“If I were to apologise for my comments then God would have to apologise.”
Mills also blamed the spread of Aids in Africa on gay people. “This abominable and filthy practice of sodomy has resulted in the great continent of Africa being riddled with Aids,” he said.
In its piece reacting to Mills’ recognition in the New Year honours list, the Ballymena Times commented: “Alderman Mills has courted controversy in his long career in local politics but was always known at a local level as a hard-working community representative with a keen appreciation of the need to keep in touch with the party’s grass roots.”