Whilst it is understood no members of the DUP have complained to party officers about Emma Little-Pengelly’s implied support for the Belfast Pride event, one of her party colleagues yesterday publicly spoke out against an “increasingly militant” LGBT campaign.
On Saturday, South Belfast MP Ms Pengelly sent her best wishes to “all my friends and constituents celebrating today,” as the parade was taking place in the city centre.
She added: “All should be able to live a proud life free from hate, abuse or persecution.”
The DUP, which has a history of denouncing homosexuality, has been widely criticised for its continued opposition to same-sex marriage.
Following the Little-Pengelly tweet, her party colleague Jim Wells MLA described it as a “surprise” but declined to elaborate.
Mr Wells did, however, spark controversy by publicly criticising the National Trust over the charity’s support for Belfast Pride – and a requirement for volunteers to wear rainbow gay pride badges at a property owned by the charity in Norfolk.
The South Down MLA, who spent 10 years working for the National Trust up until 1998, resigned his membership and said it would be “very wise to keep out of social issues” not connected to it main objectives. The charity later reversed its decision on the badges.
Although almost everyone in the party has remained silent on LGBT issues in recent weeks, Councillor John Finlay said he fully supported Mr Wells “following his conscience and challenging the modern obsession with the gay rights agenda”.
Mr Finlay said: “The trust has made a fine contribution to the preservation of our nation’s built heritage and it is a great pity that, like so many other organisations in the private and public sector nowadays, it feels obliged to promote same-sex attraction.
“It has needlessly focused on the sexuality of its founder, which in itself is very unfortunate as he himself chose to keep it private during his life. This is now being used as an excuse to promote the gay agenda within the trust.”
He added: “Such promotion is entirely unnecessary and inappropriate. It is not relevant to the trust’s work and it also fails to take into consideration the wide variety of views within the membership of the trust.”
Meanwhile, TUV leader Jim Allister has expressed his “dismay” at the PSNI “allying itself with the political demands of gay Pride”.
Mr Allister had written to the chief constable to complain about the PSNI’s active participation in Saturday’s event, but said that the response – from a sergeant – “largely ducked the issues raised”.
The North Antrim MLA has penned another letter to the chief constable saying: “Your officers officially paraded in a demonstration under the rallying cry ‘demand change’. The core change demanded is a change to the law on the definition of marriage. That is an inescapable political demand and it is one with which the PSNI is now shamefully identified. Needlessly, you have sacrificed the PSNI’s neutrality.”
• The Pride movement has the potential to “bring about revolutionary change,” the TUV press officer has said.
Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster Talkback on Monday, Sammy Morrison said the change would not be a positive one, and that the shift in social attitudes “is going to make the future very difficult and uncomfortable for Christians”.
Responding to a caller who asked Mr Morrison how he would feel if one of his children fell in love with someone of the same gender, he said: “I will prayerfully support them, and I will love them, and I will tell them, ‘you need to examine what St Paul said in First Corinthians 6 about people who came and said exactly the same thing that you have just said’.”
Asked if he would attend a wedding resulting from the hypothetical relationship, he replied: “I wouldn’t regard it as a wedding.”
Mr Morrison said it was a loving father’s responsibility to warn his children against something that “would be wrong and damaging to them – not just in this life but in the next”.