Scottish Tory leader warns against intolerance

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson Democratic Unionist Party intolerance

Ruth Davidson sounded a warning after British prime minister Theresa May reached a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to give the Conservatives a majority government.

The Scottish Tory leader, who is set to marry an Irish Catholic, made her feelings on the Tory-DUP arrangement clear when she tweeted a link to the same-sex marriage lecture she gave at Amnesty’s Pride in Belfast last year.

Ms Davidson is engaged to Jen Wilson, an environmental charity worker from Wexford and an Irish Catholic Christian, and is a practising Christian herself,

But her views on the issue would come into conflict with those held by senior figures within the DUP, which is a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage.

“What’s clear is that we need to ensure that as the parliament reconvenes in Westminster, the Government brings forward a Queen’s Speech on the 19th and I support all efforts to do that,” is all Ms Davidson would comment when asked about the arrangement.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson Democratic Unionist Party intolerance
File Photo. Theresa May reaches deal with DUP and will visit Buckingham Palace to form government. End.4/7/2016 North South Ministerial Council. Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster at a press conference of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) held today in Dublin Castle. This was the first meeting since Brexit and the United Kingdom decide to leave the European Union. Photo: RollingNews.ie

The Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster had earlier vowed to “bring stability to our nation” by backing Theresa May and the Conservatives, after the party entered into discussions with the Tories to come to an arrangement to prop up a minority government.

Foster called Thursday’s general election a “great result” for the union, which saw 10 DUP MPs, including two new ones, elected to the Commons.

Davidson’s tweet, however, has put centre stage the party’s stance on same-sex marriage and the pro-marriage equality movement, with Foster quoted in the Guardian from 2016 as saying: “They are not going to influence me by sending me abuse – in fact, they are going to send me in the opposite direction and people need to reflect on that.”

One of those 10 MPs, Ian Paisley Jr, son of the party’s founder and former leader Reverend Ian Paisley, has previously called homosexuality “immoral, offensive and obnoxious”, according to the Guardian.

 

Following news of the deal between the Conservatives and the DUP, Ms Davidson tweeted: “As a Protestant Unionist about to marry an Irish Catholic, here’s the Amnesty Pride lecture I gave in Belfast”.

She added a link to her August 2016 lecture in which she outlined how equal marriage changed her own life, and those of others across the country.

Ms Davidson made direct reference in her lecture to Northern Ireland, saying ‘How many of Northern Ireland’s daughters and her sons have chosen to build a life in friendlier climes?

‘Surely the leaders of this land, from whatever community they hail, should wish to send out the message that you are welcome here. This is your home. You are valued. You are safe. You are respected. And you are loved.

‘But it’s not just the case that equal marriage is a good thing. It also need cause no fear.’

Inevitable

Ms Davidson believes that a reform on gay marriage in Northern Ireland is inevitable, and went on to say: ‘Of course, in Northern Ireland, there is not just overwhelming public support, but also a parliamentary majority. This talk would be quite different – equal marriage would already have passed – were it not for the petition of concern.’

She added: ‘And speaking as a protestant, a Presbyterian and a Unionist I think Unionists and Presbyterians should feel they have moral permission to back equal marriage.

‘Not just because it’s no threat to traditional marriage or freedom of religion – but also because we know that it has backing from all parts of society: men, women, Catholic, Protestant, old, young, urban, rural, and we know that in the Assembly, members from across the parties support it.’


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