Tuesday 17 September 2019

DUP stance on gay marriage hasn't changed after Lyra, admits Foster


Lyra McKee: The young journalist was laid to rest on Wednesday. Picture: PA
Lyra McKee: The young journalist was laid to rest on Wednesday. Picture: PA
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

DUP leader Arlene Foster says that while she sympathises with the partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, the party's stance on gay marriage hasn't changed.

Asked about the warm words of Fr Martin McGill at Ms McKee's funeral, Ms Foster said people should not conflate sympathy and empathy with the political definition of marriage.

Fr McGill said he willingly acknowledged the love between Lyra and her partner Sara Canning from a pastoral point of view, saying there was a variety of views in the Church on homosexuality.

Ms Foster was asked on RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland' why her party refused Ms McKee equality in her lifetime and whether the DUP would change that view.

"We have a long-standing policy which hasn't changed. That remains the position of the party," she said. "That doesn't mean I cannot sympathise and empathise with Sara and say to her that we feel her love. Her loss was all of our loss because this was a young woman who was doing great things in journalism and living her life in a city that she adopted.

"You shouldn't conflate the two issues of empathy and sympathy and a political issue, which is the definition of marriage."

While the party is running an openly gay candidate in the local council elections, the DUP opposes same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, a £10,000 (€11,580) reward has been offered for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder of Ms McKee.

Ms McKee (29) was shot dead as she observed rioting in the Creggan estate in Derry last Thursday. The New IRA accepted responsibility for the murder.

The reward is being offered by the charity Crimestoppers.

Det Supt Jason Murphy, who is leading the investigation, said he hoped the reward would help bring those responsible to justice. "It was a senseless murder of a gifted young woman and Lyra's family and loved ones have been left devastated," he said.

Irish Independent

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