DUP councillor condemned for claiming ‘LGBTQIA alphabet soup mafia’ support Hamas

A picture of DUP councillor Colin Kennedy wearing a white and blue striped shirt, blue suit jacket and tie

A Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor has been slammed for ‘disgusting’ comments which made connections between the LGBTQ+ community and Palestinian organisation Hamas. 

Newtownards councillor Colin Kennedy made the remarks during a five-minute-long speech at a meeting of Ards and North Down Borough Council Wednesday (26 October). 

In the speech, Kennedy said people who “enthusiastically endorse the LGBTQIA alphabet soup mafia” are now “seeking to defend Hamas”.

He then alleged: “What binds these causes is a deep-seated hatred of the West.”

Hamas is an Islamic militant movement and one of the Palestinian territories’ major political parties. It has led an armed resistance against Israel since Hamas took over governance of the more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza. 

PinkNews has sent comment requests to Kennedy and the DUP. 

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The DUP councillor’s anti-LGBTQ+ comments sparked immediate backlash at the meeting. 

Two members of the council – independent councillor Ray McKimm and Hannah Irwin, the council’s deputy mayor and an Alliance councillor – left the chamber at Bangor Castle in protest, Belfast Live reported. 

Before leaving, Irwin asked Kennedy to retract his remarks. 

“As a member of the LGBTQ community, I feel pretty personally offended by it,” she said. 

DUP councillor Jennifer Gilmor, the mayor who was chairing the meeting, responded to say she didn’t feel the “comments were directed towards a personal individual in the room”. 

Kennedy refused to withdraw his remarks but would be open to talking to Irwin afterwards to “assuage any concerns she might have”.  

McKimm, who is gay, told BBC News NI that he plans to make a complaint against the DUP councillor over the “offensive” anti-LGBTQ+ remarks to the local government watchdog and against the council for its handling of the matter. 

A council spokeswoman told the news outlet that Gilmor “dealt with the discussion” in “line with council standing orders”. 

The Alliance Party called on the DUP to take action against the Newtownards councillor over his comments linking the LGBTQ+ community and Hamas.

The political party said it was “disgusted” not only by Kennedy’s “intent to link” the LGBTQ+ community to Hamas but by his “decision to outright ridicule the entire LGBTQ+ community in such a public forum”. 

“It is now urgent that the DUP leadership take immediate action to show the party will not accept such blatant homophobia within its ranks,” an Alliance spokesperson said. 

“Such comments have no place in any society, especially from those in a position of responsibility such as elected representatives.

“Any mainstream party anywhere else in these islands would have suspended this councillor by now, particularly given it is not the first time he has been involved in controversy. 

“The DUP must outline immediately if it is intending on taking the same action.”

This is not the first time the DUP councillor faced backlash for making anti-LGBTQ+ remarks. 

In 2021, Kennedy baselessly claimed the campaign to ban conversion therapy as a “hoax” that was part of a push for a “neo-Marxist utopia”. 

He then alleged the concept of conversion therapy – harmful practices that try to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity – was “manufactured”, and the effort to implement a ban was an “anti-religion dog whistle”.