British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has refused to reprimand a member of parliament who compared homosexuality to child abuse and claimed that it could be “cured”.
Iris Robinson, a Northern Ireland Ulster Democratic Unionist Party MP, had said in a parliamentary debate that “There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children.”
She also described homosexually as “disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile” in a radio interview and claimed that gays and lesbians could be “cured” through psychiatric treatment.
An e-petition signed by over 15 000 people, posted on the Prime Minister’s Office’s official website, www.number10.gov.uk, called on Downing Street to reprimand Robinson for her comments.
The Prime Minister’s Office responded that “There is no constitutional role for the Prime Minister to reprimand individual Members of Parliament who are accountable to their electorate for their own comments.”
It suggested that people could take the matter to court or a tribunal if they felt they had been discriminated against under Northern Ireland’s equality legislation which includes sexual orientation.
It went on to add that, “The Government’s vision is an equal, inclusive society in Northern Ireland, where everyone is treated with respect and where opportunity for all remains a priority.”