William McCrea backs DUP decision not to take stance on homosexuality

Dr William McCrea
Dr William McCrea

A DUP veteran and long-standing Free Presbyterian minister has supported his party leader’s decision that the DUP should take no stance on the issue of homosexuality.

The Rev William McCrea said that he was happy with the party position as articulated by Peter Robinson.

Last week Paul McClean, a DUP councillor and a senior member of William McCrea’s church, said that homosexuality should be recriminalised.

When asked if he supported that sentiment, the Rev McCrea said: “Well, I know that Paul did express his own opinion. I’ve never just found out just exactly what he was quoted as saying because I genuinely have been out on the campaign trail ... was that something which he said a number of years ago?”

When told that it was last week, the Rev McCrea said: “I honestly don’t know ... what totally amazes me is that we are just coming out of recession and it seems to be that there are those who have an agenda to take away from the debate which we are looking to for the future.”

Last week Peter Robinson made clear that the DUP – which once campaigned against homosexuality – would now take no position on the issue.

The Rev McCrea said: “I genuinely do believe that Peter, our leader, has made the position of the party clear ... and he’s made it on behalf of the party and that has been stated over and over and over again and I think that is quite honestly where the party, including myself, stand.”

When asked if he was saying that he agreed with Mr Robinson that it us not the business of politicians to “pry into” the sexual orientation of individuals, rather than Mr McClean who wanted to see politicians make homosexuality illegal, he said: “No, no. As far as the party is concerned, the party has given a very clear position on this as regards a political party in Northern Ireland...we are fighting a political election

Emphasising his commitment to politics, the Rev McCrea said: “I have no hobbies; I don’t socialise in the evening as others socialise”, and added that he prepares his sermons between 11 pm on Saturdays and 2am on Sunday mornings.

Mr Kinahan was one of just a handful of unionist MLAs to support gay marriage in the Assembly – something the DUP have been raising during the campaign. He said that he has “nearly knocked the whole patch” and that about five people have raised it as an issue where they supported his stance, while three said the opposite.

He said “it isn’t an issue” for most voters in the constituency and said that as the issue has been decided at Westminster (though not in the Assembly) it will not be an issue in the next Parliament.