Assembly must send clear message to minorities
Stormont must send out a clear message that it stands with all minorities against bullying and intimidation, SDLP Colum Eastwood has said.
Mr Eastwood made the comment during an Assembly motion on equality legislation when he voiced opposition to the DUP's proposed 'conscience clause' Bill.
He said: “We have to be careful about the messages we send out to members of our community. For a long time, people in our community who were described as LGBT had to hide who they were from their family, community and people in general.
“We have moved a long way from that. Families in every community, regardless of religion or faith, have moved to understanding people's sexual orientation. As a society we have moved far forward in that regard.
“Unfortunately, the Assembly has not moved quite as fast. We need to send out a different message - to send out a message to the man in Belfast whose house was attacked recently after his husband passed away that that sort of activity is not condoned by us. That sort of activity should be left in the past where it belongs.
“We should send out the message that we as legislators stand with minorities, regardless of what minority it is, against people who would bully or intimidate them out of their home or drive them towards suicide, which is a very real concern for many.”