Irish Politician: Homosexuality = Bestiality
A lawmaker from Northern Ireland has resigned after making remarks where he likened gay sex to bestiality, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
After being a member of the Ulster Unionist Party for 50 years, Lord Maginnis quit on Tuesday after "agonizing" over the decision for the last three months. The UUP is the older of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland and advocates for continuing unity between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.
In June 2011, Maginnis, 74, appeared on BBC Northern Ireland's Stephen Nolan show and made some controversial remarks regarding the LGBT community. He said he was against same-sex marriage because it was "unnatural" and he did not believe society should "have imposed on something that is unnatural."
"Does that mean that every deviant practice has to be accommodated? Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?" he asked. Maginnis defended his statements and called people who committed "unnatural physical acts" as deviants.
"These are people that seem to take some pride expressing their particular rights," he said. "I disagree with those rights and that deviance."
For years, he served in the British House of Commons, until 2001, when the queen made him Baron Maginnis of Drumglass, of Carnteel. The lawmaker is thus a life peer in the House of Lords, a highly regarded honor in the U.K.
Several senior members of the UUP were embarrassed by Maginnis' anti-gay remarks, including Mike Nesbitt, the party's leader. Maginnis was soon removed from as party whip in the House of Lords.
"Lord Maginnis was speaking in a personal capacity without our knowledge or permission, and his comments do not reflect Ulster Unionist Party policy," the UUP said in a statement.
Despite the party's actions, Nesbitt said he "regrets" that the party will no longer "have access to [Maginnis'] experience and expertise" and that he still admires the politician. "However, 50 years' service is a lifetime's devotion, and I must respect his decision," Nesbitt added.
Maginnis' statements mirror those of former Republican senator and former U.S. presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who also compared gay sex to bestiality.
In 2003, he told the Associated Press that he does not believe gay men and women should engage in sexual acts because the definition of marriage does not include homosexuality.
"That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing," he said.