DUP politician: I’m ‘grateful’ that Nick Clegg warned that we want to reject gay rights

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A Northern Irish DUP politician has ‘thanked’ Nick Clegg – after the Lib Dems claimed a coalition of the Conservative Party, UKIP and the DUP would abolish same-sex marriage.

The Lib Dems made the claim yesterday on an official parody website set up by the party for ‘Blukip‘ – the nickname for a mooted coalition between the parties – in which they wrote about “our plans to abolish gay ‘marriage’.”.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Scotland, England and Wales, but remains banned in Northern Ireland because of opposition from the DUP government – who also voted against it in Westminster.

A source close to the Prime Minister and a UKIP spokesman both separately denied to PinkNews that they would be willing to abolish same-sex marriage as part of any deal.

However, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds did not deny claims his party would want a coalition to “reject gay rights” during a Newsnight debate hosted by Evan Davis.

Mr Davis asked the MP: “You might have seen that Nick Clegg today warned of something that he called Blukip – a right-wing alliance of Tory, UKIP and DUP. He said it would reject gay rights and support the death penalty. What was your reaction?”

Mr Dodds said: I was very grateful to Nick Clegg for reminding people of the pivotal role the DUP can play. If you look at [the BBC Leaders’ Debate] earlier, Northern Ireland’s voice was excluded.

“We can play a very pivotal role in the election.

“I think it’s wrong for Nick Clegg… this is a man who talks before the election one thing… even he forgets what he stands for after the election.”

When asked directly whether the party would reject gay rights, Mr Dodds said: “We reflect the view of many people in Northern Ireland, across the two communities. These are devolved matters for Northern Ireland to decide on a cross-community basis.”

When pushed again, he said: “Those matters are not for the Westminster Parliament” – despite his party’s own MPs voting against equality in England and Wales.

Equality activists have previously expressed concern that the DUP – which still actively opposes LGBT rights – could hold the balance of power in a future coalition.

Two successive DUP Health Ministers have refused to lift the ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland – despite admitting they have “no evidence” to do so.

DUP minister Jim Wellshas previously claimed that he finds Pride “repugnant” – and has blocked PinkNews and a number of LGBT activists on Twitter for bringing up his gay rights record.