Today we’re all in IDAHO. No, we’re not in the United States for the day, we’re commemorating International Day Against Homophobia. For a number of us, this started at the weekend when we attended the IDAHO service in St George’s Parish Church, in Belfast’s High Street on Sunday afternoon.
Those of us in church on Sunday heard from The Rev’d Brian Stewart, Rector of St George’s that
at this time each year we join with brothers and sisters throughout the world who are concerned that Christian conscience cannot accept that God’s love embraces only heterosexuals.
As Liberal Democrats, we are very supportive of this view – but not just from a Christian perspective. As Liberal Democrats, we are always working to safeguard liberty, equality, and community and the LGBT community across our world is often in need of that help. Jeremy Brown MP, Lib Dem Foreign Office Minister recorded a message in support of IDAHO which can be seen below.
Abroad – International opposition to Uganda‘s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill
Only last week did the global LGBT community in conjunction with many others come together to fight the proposed Anti-Homosexual Bill that was proposed in Uganda’s parliament. Over 500,000 people signed the petition. Thankfully the Bill has been stopped for now – but the fight continues to prevent it.
At home – Police Crime Statistics show homophobic incidents on the increase in N. Ireland
Last week the Police Service of Northern Ireland released its crime statistics for the year 2010/11. Across Northern Ireland as a whole homophobic incidents rose by 20.6%. The greatest increase was in the G district area which covers Strabane, Foyle, Limavady and Magherafelt areas. This is reflected in the percentage change in the Rural Region which was a rise of 38.0%. Clearly we need to make sure that the message that hate crime is wrong. (Statistics from Hate Motivated Incidents and Crimes Recorded by the Police in Northern Ireland 2010/11)