Ann Allan : We are in danger of over baking the ‘ cake ‘

I’m sure what I’m going to say may not be politically correct but being me I will say it anyway and ride the storm.

The Asher cake debacle has taken up a lot of news time over the last few months. Maybe a godsend for politicians as controversies like this tend to enable bad news to be announced and to go unnoticed. Now the judgement has been handed down we are in my opinion beginning to see bad grace on both sides.

Ashers refuse to accept the verdict and want to pursue an appeal. Supporters of Ashers are coming out with scenarios that will probably never see the light of day to try to dilute the verdict.

On the other side and that’s the side I was on a petition has been launched to boycott Tescos. Well no, not in my name. Knee jerk reaction and not properly thought through.

My solution would be that Ashers accept the judgement and put a disclaimer where it can be clearly seen stating their policy re ‘ the writing on the cake’

The Rainbow project or other representatives of LGBT meet with Ashers on a one to one basis and explain to them how it feels to be discriminated against. How it is not against Christian beliefs to be gay and that it is not a lifestyle choice.

Then we can all move on.

Ann Allan: Hope for the future


Well it’s over. The candidates have been given either an A * or a fail. I’m left with a sour taste in my mouth. Disappointed that the people of Northern Ireland have in most cases returned the same old faces. Faces of those stuck in the past. No vision for the future other than the same old, same old. Fundamentalists who live their lives governed by a book written over 2000 years ago to control the masses.
Fair enough, you live in the past but don’t drag the rest of us back there with you. Society has moved on. We have evolved as a society since the Old Testament scribes tried to make sense of the world. Science has proved without any doubt that the world was not created in 7 days and it certainly wasn’t created 8000 years ago.  But the majority  party in Northern Ireland still do and form their policies accordingly. And we pride ourselves that as a people we went abroad and educated others?

The vitriol of a few of those who won was cringeworthy. Under pressure? It appears that when certain politicians are under pressure their true feelings come to the fore. Then a sackcloth and ashes act asking for forgiveness. Most of us are not fooled but unfortunately there are those who either agree or are past caring. Maybe an ageing population are war weary. They have decided that the status quo means that their lives can trundle on but to hell with others.  I am one of that aging population. I’ve lived through the ‘troubles’ and raised my family through those hard times. But I won’t accept that this is as good as it gets and I will try in my own small way to draw attention to what is going on. I’m sorry to see Naomi Long losing her seat in Westminister but I believe that Westminster’s loss is Stormont’s gain.  I hope to see her up in Stormont sooner rather than later. She’ll shake them up on the hill.
Interesting to see that the UUP candidate who won his seat fairly and squarely voted in favour of marriage equality. So there is some hope out there. To the old men with their warped view of life I’d say society is changing particularly with the able young people that I know  are coming along. So don’t rest on your laurels. It may not happen in my lifetime but it will happen. Northern Ireland will grow up and move into the 21st century eventually albeit years to late.

Pro- Equailty Citizen: Equality for All.

imageI am so happy! Why? Because the sexual orientation equality debate is out in the open and people are fighting about it. The local media and everyone on social networks are thriving on it. Don’t you just love a good scrap to let loose and get it all out? Long overdue!

We all know what has been said by certain DUP politicians so there’s no point in saying it all again. The bottom line is that their bible tells them that homosexuality is an ‘abomination’ and that is what many of them truly believe and have said in different ways.IMG_2419

I am an atheist/humanist so I don’t base my life, thoughts, ethics/morals and how I live on texts of the bible written a long time ago by people who just didn’t know what we know now. They tried to make sense of the world with the limited knowledge they had at the time. They created rules for every aspect of their lives in their attempt to worship their god and keep order and control. With the advancement of science and knowledge, based on tested evidence, we are much more educated in the world in which we live. And, we understand that humans have basic human rights, whilst abiding by civil laws for the good of all society.

But, some Christians like those in the DUP and other institutions do base their moral code on the texts of the bible and they are opposed to equality for LGBT people. It is a basic human right that they believe in whatever god they want and follow texts and rules of whatever religious institution to which they belong. However, I would like to ask the following questions of them. In the past, Christians used the bible to support the system of slavery. Christians used the bible to deny women the right to vote. Christians used the bible to condemn interracial marriage. As these discriminatory practices do not occur now in Northern Ireland and we have equality laws to prevent them, what happened with following biblical texts? Do the members of the DUP and others support slavery, do they support disallowing women to vote, do they condemn interracial marriage? The biblical texts could not have changed. After all they were written thousands of years ago and they are allegedly the ‘word of god’.IMG_2420

If Christians were able to ignore or re-interpret the biblical texts supporting the examples of inequalities above, surely they can do the same to support full LGBT equality, including marriage. Why don’t they listen to the fact that we all have a right to love, whatever our sexual orientation?

The people in the Republic of Ireland will vote on Equal Marriage on 22 May 2015 and, judging by the enormous public support, I believe and hope they will get it. And, when that happens it will shine the light on this issue in Northern Ireland even more. We will be the only region of the British Isles to have inequality in this area of life. We will be isolated. We will be a region where the equal rights of all do not exist.

But I believe that change will happen because equality will override inequality in the end.

‘Diversity & Inclusion – Love Has No Labels’


Sarah Lucas: A Vote for the DUP is a vote for Bigotry and Inequality.

Last Friday morning I woke up angry. Very angry. And not just because I hate mornings, and I had to start work three hours early.
No, the DUP had done it again, and this time it was Jim Wells, saying something even more stupid than that time he said Creationism was real and not just a complete fairytale invented by people who didn’t have science to explain the creation of the world.

No, he said that children who grew up raised by homosexuals were more likely to be abused. He followed that up by denying that he ever said it, until a video came out showing him saying exactly that. And then he said that he didn’t really mean it.

After that, he said that the reason he had said this untrue, defamatory thing about a minority group was because he had just come from the hospital. Now, I have every sympathy for the fact that his wife isn’t well but I find it pretty disgusting that he uses that as an excuse to say bigoted, ugly and defamatory things about a protected minority group.

I saw the petition for him to resign as Health Minister, and I said to myself, that won’t work. The DUP are Teflon™. They get away with anything. And sure enough Friday morning up pops Mr Robinson saying that they’re going to stand by their man.

The amount of bigotry in the DUP is terrifying. It runs through the very core of the party and is dressed up as religiosity. There are so many incidences and they are well documented so I won’t go to the trouble of listing them here (those who want to read about their record on gay rights issues can do so here

but I do want to say this: it’s time to take a brillo pad to the Teflon™ DUP. Scrub it right off. Make sure that they know that people are getting sick of their bullshit.

The Westminster elections might not create much of a change in the way that Northern Ireland is governed, but it is an opportunity to show people that you have opinions and you want to voice them. It’s an opportunity to say no to bigotry and yes to equality. An opportunity to say no to sectarianism and yes to change.* To show the DUP that in 2016 when we vote in a new Assembly, it might just not look the same.

So please. Get out there and vote in numbers.

If you’re gay, you shouldn’t be voting for the DUP.

If you have a gay relative, you shouldn’t be voting for the DUP.

If you have a gay friend, you shouldn’t be voting for the DUP.

If you have a gay colleague, you shouldn’t be voting for the DUP.

Hang on. How on earth is there anyone still voting for the DUP?

Even the DUP shouldn’t be voting for the DUP.

* I will be voting for the Alliance Party, because I believe in their policies and anyone who will stand for non-sectarianism in Northern Ireland has my vote. I am not in any way affiliated with the Alliance Party.

Ann Allan: The Rush to Blame.

The recent desecration of a memorial on the Newtownards Road brought out the armchair detectives. A rush to blame the other side for the destruction. What I saw was a lone figure on a bicycle on a mission. What his/ her reasons were for this act of stupidity was not obvious. Nor was it obvious where the perpetrator had come from. Notwithstanding, those on the loyalist side blamed the Short Strand and those on the Nationalist side blamed the Newtowards Rd community themselves.
Why is there this rush to blame and cry foul? Why try to stigmatise a whole community for the actions of a few? Do those in the loyalist community really believe that the residents of Short Strand had a secret vote? That they all supported the motion for an idiot on a bicycle to go to the Newtownards Road and wreck a memorial. Likewise do the residents of Short Strand really believe that the whole community in that area hatched a plan to wreck a memorial just so ‘themuns’ would get the blame?
I’m not saying that it wasn’t the case that one or two members of these communities did actually do it and with the intention to cause trouble but it wasn’t the entire community. Most people want to live and let live. Most people want to get on with life. So when we start blaming without all the facts then the seed for mistrust is sown.
You can see it around you every day, especially on Twitter. The actions of one or two idiots has the usual suspects out ready to judge. You are playing into the hands of those who carry out these deeds. They maybe get their kicks out of wrecking things or they may have an agenda to cause more tension so please in future wait for the police to do their job and find the criminals before you rush to judgement.