A LEADING LGBT activist has criticised the Government for ‘giving a platform’ to a ‘homophobic MP.’
Ian Paisley Jr member of the Democratic Unionist Party has been invited to this weekend’s National Day in Gibraltar marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.
Ian Paisley founder of ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ is the father of Ian Paisley Jr, whose Northern Ireland politician’s party is propping up the UK government.
Paisley Jr previously stated: “I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society.”
Felix Alvarez, founder of Equality Rights Group admitted that Gibraltar does well in inviting solidarity from Parliamentarians, but told the Gibraltar Olive Press: “That Gibraltar should provide him with any platform at all is a problem Gibraltar needs to get to grips with. There is no national pride in homophobia!”
He added: “That this person is ‘repulsed’ by homosexual people is a problem he has to cope with living in a diverse world.”
Since speaking to the Olive Press, Alvarez released a statement adding: “This year’s National Day platform is, unfortunately, sullied and made unworthy for our society.
“Mr. Paisley, son of the late notorious self-appointed preacher politician Ian Paisley, founder of the infamous ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ movement, is well-known for his publicly reported openly anti-LGBT remarks and attitudes.
“Mr Paisley may hold whatever opinions he may wish within the law, however, Government’s choice of invitee in this particular instance, is regrettable and, in the view of a significant majority of people in our country, sours a day of standing together in national pride and solidarity.
“Government is sending the wrong message to its LGBT community, its families and friends.
“There is zero national pride in hosting Mr. Paisley in Gibraltar. Only regret and shame.”
Invites have been sent to a mix of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National Party, Democratic Unionist, Ulster Unionist, Green Party and UKIP parliamentarians.
Members of the House of Lords and the European Parliament have also been invited.
The issue of Gibraltar in Brexit negotiations has heightened interest and the group of Parliamentarians will also participate in a range of different events over the course of the day.
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “The Government is delighted with the mix of cross-party representation that has been achieved. Gibraltar has friends in all the political parties in the UK and we must build on that going forward.”