Northern Ireland news

Video: Ian Paisley gay marriage comments criticised on The Wright Stuff

The north Antrim MP appeared on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff 

IAN Paisley Junior has come under fire for fresh comments made about same-sex marriage.

The north Antrim MP appeared on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff yesterday where he spoke about Brexit, the border, US President Donald Trump and his political and personal reasons for opposing marriage equality.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where gay marriage remains illegal.

In the most recent vote, assembly members supported legalising same-sex marriage, by 53 votes to 52. However, the motion was blocked by the DUP, using the petition of concern.

Ahead of yesterday's broadcast, the show asked viewers was it time "Northern Ireland followed the rest of the UK and allowed gay marriage".

It added: "Theresa May's refused to get involved, saying it's a devolved issue. But do you think Westminster should intervene?".

Mr Paisley was asked how the DUP would vote if the matter came before the assembly again.

"We have made it clear in our manifesto that we would vote against changing the marriage law," he said.

"We could have a referendum in Northern Ireland and we would then implement the will of the people. But at the present time, we respect the law."

Asked about his own views, Mr Paisley admitted they would be seen as "crass to some people" but supported by others.

"I am a law maker and I have to actually try and put in place laws that reflect the general view of the people.

"I take a very strong view on this personally. It is my moral view and moral code. I am no longer going to try and express views that might hurt or offend people. I'm trying to take a course of action that is the legal course of action.

"I believe that marriage is an institution of the state that is about creating a society where men and women marry to create children and to bring them up. I take the view that marriage is instituted by God for those reasons, to create a stable society, and I don't mean to offend people by saying that, but that is my view and the view of many many people of my country."

Mr Paisley was challenged by viewers, followers on social media and also fellow guest, comedian Scott Capurro who said he disagreed with a referendum.

He said the DUP's stance "makes Northern Ireland seem backward" adding that marriage was a civil right, not a religious one.

"If you were to say I'm opposed to people of different races marrying, we would all be offended, as we should be. What you are saying in a referendum is `we are opposed to this but we will let you decide if it's OK for your neighbours to get married'," Mr Capurro said.

Ian Paisley has recently returned to Twitter after appearing to remove his account earlier this month.

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