Saturday, August 02, 2008

Pride And Prejudice, Belfast Style

Come one, come all, to cheer on the queer.

Stand along the route as the Belfast Gay Pride Parade passes by, to show the world that the people of Northern Ireland are not in the least bit prejudiced. Gerry Lynch of the Alliance Party is rounding up attendees to fill the streets with applause and cheers, to drown out the anti-gay protesters who are congregating around Belfast City Hall.

Pay no attention to MP Iris Robinson, the born-again Christian who has stated, quite publicly, that homosexuality is an abomination, a sin more vile than child abuse.

If a record number of ordinary people turn out, it will show that the citizens of the town are not at all like Ms. Robinson and her ilk. It will prove that the unionists who adore King William of Orange, their hero, aren't the least bit upset to be told by gay rights activists that he liked the boys.

Attend the parade, bring the wife and kids, the grannies and granddads, but please don't bring along that full page advert that the Free Presbyterian Church paid for, the one that trumpets their belief that God's own words condemn sodomy. Can we avoid bringing religion into this?

Parade organizers have promised that no one is going to be dressed up like Jesus, proclaiming that the Son of God was gay. That was last year, and it caused a terrible fuss, and it will not be repeated.

Considering Belfast's record on prejudice and hatred, it's highly unlikely that the parade will draw a crowd of any size. Mr. Lynch wants to demonstrate that Northern Ireland has moved on from the past, but most of its citizens are so firmly rooted in the past that they cannot hope to budge.

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