Sinn Fein should stop using LGBT issues for their own political ends

Declan Kearney outside San Francisco City Hall, after raising of Irish Tricolour. He paid tribute to Harvey Milk, the assassinated gay activist
Declan Kearney outside San Francisco City Hall, after raising of Irish Tricolour. He paid tribute to Harvey Milk, the assassinated gay activist

In reference to Sinn Fein National Chairperson Declan Kearney’s video diary which shows him outside San Francisco City Hall after attending an event raising the Irish national flag there, I take great offence that he would include marriage equality as one of the reasons why Harvey Milk was assassinated.

This was careless and insensitive, even showing ignorance of American LGBT history in an absurd attempt to link what happened to Harvey Milk in San Francisco in 1978 to the current political situation in Northern Ireland.

Letters

Letters

‘Marriage equality’ as we know it now was not campaigned for by Harvey Milk in the 1970s, let alone largely thought of.

LGBT people back then saw marriage as an institution for straight people and were more concerned about not being discriminated in the workplace or for jobs or being attacked on the streets.

For Declan Kearney to make that bizarre link especially as Sinn Fein were shown to disregard same-sex marriage as a precondition to returning to government in favour of an Irish language act is farcical.

It shows that they operate on a hierarchy of rights and not on equality for all as they promised the electorate.

As a gay unionist, I’d much prefer Sinn Fein to stop using LGBT issues for their own political ends.

While same-sex marriage is an important issue for me, it should not be a barrier for them to return to government.

LGBT people are more than capable of fighting for their own rights our own way as proven in history – we do not need Sinn Fein to do that for us – I and many other LGBT people did not agree to them being our crusaders.

Michael Palmer, Newtownards