Actor Gerard McCarthy: Anti-gay bill makes me ashamed to be Northern Irish

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Actor Gerard McCarthy has ripped into proposed legislation in Northern Ireland that would exempt religious people from some equality laws to discriminate against gays.

DUP politician Paul Givan last month pledged to introduce a private member’s bill which would effectively void parts of equality laws – by allowing religious people the freedom to discriminate against gays based on their ‘conscience’.

Mr McCarthy – a Northern Irish actor who is currently appearing in The Fall – tweeted  that the proposed bill made him feel ashamed” to be Northern Irish.

He said: “For the first time in my life, I’m actually embarrassed to be from Northern Ireland.

“Last week I was reminded by @stonewalluk that 20,000 children contemplate suicide per year as a direct result of homophobic bullying.

“The fact that Northern Ireland’s First Minister supports plans to LEGALISE homophobic discrimination is truly terrifying!”

The actor – who is set to star in next year’s touring production of Beautiful Thing – added: “After reading about @DUPleader’s backing of this ridiculous ‘conscience clause’, I’m glad we’re not taking @beautThing to Belfast.”