Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The islamofascists have done it again...

Hang on a minute, no, chalk this one up to the christians...

Twenty-five years after Northern Ireland's gay rights campaigners first defeated Rev Ian Paisley's infamous quest to "Save Ulster from Sodomy", a new war against homosexuality is being waged on the streets of Belfast.

In 1982 Rev Paisley and his Free Presbyterian Church tried to stop the introduction of a gay age of consent. This time the church and its political allies are attempting to block new laws that will protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination by hoteliers and guesthouse owners.

Under changes that come into force today Northern Ireland is to trailblaze regulations which make it unlawful to refuse goods and services to people on grounds of sexual orientation.

OK, it seems small. However:

For P A MagLochlainn, 61, who was at the forefront of the campaign to stop Rev Paisley and his crusade it is a case of history repeating itself.

"Before we had the age of consent the police would raid homes and guest houses and drag people out of their beds.

"If they couldn't find anyone in them then they would check for pubic hair. Even after 1982, when we won the battle, I still saw people being beaten up just for snogging in public," he said.

Let it never be said, of course, that imperial occupiers ever play sectarian divide and rule, or that it doesn't have disasterous consequences years down the line, or that Labour politicians aren't willing to pander to the worst elements in society:

The Labour policy is being championed by Peter Hain, Northern Ireland Secretary, who has already defied a call by Ruth Kelly, the Cabinet minister responsible for equality, to hold fire until a common approach has been agreed.

Ms Kelly, a devout Catholic, is sympathetic to pleas by the Anglican and Catholic churches, who claim that tough anti-discrimination laws could force their adoption agencies, youth and breakfast clubs to close, their bookshops could be sued if they refuse to stock gay literature and hotel owners with strong religious beliefs could be fined if they do not allow gay couples to share a room.

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