DUP MLA Jim Wells has resigned his membership of the National Trust over what he described as “controversial social issues” relating to homosexuality.
Mr Wells said he resigned from the trust over their support for Belfast Pride, an article published in the National Trust magazine titled ‘prejudice and pride’, and an issue at a Norfolk stately home that saw volunteers barred from public-facing duties by the trust if they refused to wear rainbow gay pride badges.
Staff at Felbrigg Hall were offered behind-the-scenes roles after saying they were “uncomfortable” wearing the multi-coloured pins during an event marking the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The trust has since reversed that decision.
Mr Wells told the News Letter: “I worked for the National Trust full time for 10 years up until June 1998, when I left after I was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly. That’s when I joined as a member and remained a member, and frequent donor, for 19 years. I was seriously considering leaving a legacy to the charity.”
He said he and his family have resigned their membership over the representation of the trust at Belfast Pride, the “events at Felbrigg Hall” and the article published in the trust’s magazine.
Mr Wells added: “The National Trust is an organisation which does excellent work conserving historic houses, our scenic coastline and beautiful gardens. It would be very wise to keep out of controversial social issues which have little of anything to do with its main objectives.”