Monday, January 08, 2007

Death of David Ervine

Meanwhile, sad to note the recent death of David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party. He struck a rare note on the Unionist side in the Northern Ireland Assembly in speaking out against moves by Unionists to ask for the regulations to be withdrawn, as well as being widely praised for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process. (See an obituary notice in the Times).

Some quotes from his moving speech (see here for the full text, including interruptions):

"Equality is equality is equality. If we refuse any human being the entitlement to equality, we deny ourselves proper equality. It is either for everyone or for no one."

"We have the option to live in a modern, decent society, and if we choose to have equality, it must be for everyone. This is a nice country with a great opportunity, but it is a bit like the beautiful girl who goes to a beauty salon and comes out with warts on her nose."

"In reality, there are human beings who struggle to come through life with the realisation that they are different. It is a horrific condition for a young man or woman to realise that they are out of step with the rest of society. It brings immense pressure.

Let me give you some examples of things we could be talking about. Northern Ireland has the highest teenage suicide rate; one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates; the highest rate of heart defect; and the lowest levels of educational achievement in Europe.

Yet here we are, talking about ensuring that we guarantee that those ogres in the gay and lesbian community do not get equality."

"The sentiments and attitudes of people such as those in the DUP — and the DUP is surely not alone — is that it is OK to treat those people as inferior. They are not inferior; they are equal, and they should be equal in all aspects of life as far as it is earthly possible for us to deliver. Northern Ireland has the opportunity to deliver that equality."

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