There have been calls for the Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane to withdraw the comments he made condemning members of the LGBT community.
Representatives from both the SDLP and Sinn Fein have called for the DUP councillor to withdraw his statement that gay people ‘could be cured by turning to Christ and praying’.
Being a person of faith and supporting LGBT rights are not mutually exclusive, indeed I believe that love, compassion and equality are very Christian values.Colr. Gerard Diver, SDLP
Colr. Kerrigan made the comments in the wake of the NI Assembly vote on Equal Marriage, which took place in Stormont on Monday.
Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming hit out at his fellow councillor saying: “There can be no place for these out-dated and intolerant views which will no doubt have caused great offence within the LGBT community.
“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to all forms of discrimination, including homophobia, racism and sexism.
“Derry and the north west has established an internationally recognised reputation for its welcome for all communities, particularly members of the LGBT community.”
He added that those in positions of civic leadership have ‘a responsibility to represent everyone in our community’.
His comments were echoed by SDLP councillor Gerard Diver who said: “It’s clear that Alderman Kerrigan’s remarks are completely outdated and out of step with the views of most people in Derry and across the North.
“Those who identify as LGBT do not do so by choice and the notion that any amount of prayer, or anything else, can ‘cure’, ‘heal’ or in any way redefine who a person is,is deeply offensive.
“I would call on Alderman Kerrigan to reflect on the damage that such comments have on the LGBT community. Being a person of faith and supporting LGBT rights are not mutually exclusive, indeed I believe that love, compassion and equality are very Christian values.
“We must all do whatever we can to support people in our community regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. In that regard, I believe Alderman Kerrigan has let the people of Derry and Strabane down as our Deputy Mayor and that he should reflect on his comments in the days ahead.”