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Storm grows on Tormey's gay marriage views

TV PRESENTER Brendan Courtney has described a city politician as "stupid" and "out of touch" for his views on same-sex marriage.

Fine Gael's Dr Bill Tormey objects to gay marriage, saying "all things being equal, heterosexual couples should come first" for things like adoption.

But today RTE's Off The Rails host Brendan Courtney hit out at him saying: "At this stage it seems ludicrous that a middle-aged man wants to keep gay people in a corner of society.

"We are very much part of culture, society and family.

"Everybody has somebody gay in their family or close to them and when a stupid, out-of-touch man tries to deny me my rights, it makes me really angry."

He told the Herald: "I'm getting sick of it now, [with] these old people making decisions who are out-of-touch.

"It's legal to be gay, stop denying us the right."

Tiernan Brady of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said today Dr Tormey was "completely out of step" with his council colleagues who voted 38 to 4 in favour of a motion calling for the introduction of same sex marriage in Ireland.

"There were strong statements of support from members of every party for the motion. Families headed by gay and lesbian couples exist and they are real families," he said.

"This is a republic and the sign of a republic is how it treats its people with its laws. All people should be considered equal under the law."

Dr Tormey wrote in the Herald yesterday that "the expression of sexuality is highly influenced by what the child sees as sexual behaviour around them and what opportunities for sexual experimentation present themselves. Family interaction and other such experiences are very important."

He claimed there should be a hierarachy in placing children for adoption and "all things being equal, heterosexual couples should come first."

The gay marriage debate is now set to be aired at two more Dublin councils next week.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and South Dublin County Council both have motions on the issue which are expected to be passed.

Fine Gael councillor Barry Ward from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown has placed a motion reading: "That the council supports equal access to marriage for all people, irrespective of sexuality."

However his own party colleague Cllr John Bailey is set to vote against the proposal.

"I am very much pro-life and pro conventional marriage," he said.

"I would vote no."

Of the other Fine Gael councillors contacted by the Herald, and who had responded at the time of going to print, most were supportive of the motion.