Posted By: May 27, 2015

Brian Feeney. Irish News ( Belfast).Wednesday, may 27, 2015

IT'S back to the future. We are where we were 50 years ago, a year or so before the
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association[ NICRA] got under way. 

NICRA's most lethal weapon was to demand the same rights as UK citizens in Britain.
Unionists had no answer except to say, guess what? "NO". 

So Unionists got themselves into the position of opposing 'one man one vote', though
nowadays it would be one person one vote. 

It was irrelevant that multiple votes applied only in local government elections.
No-one cared. Unionists were objecting to universal suffrage; that's all that
mattered. The slogan was deadly. Unionists were agin [ against] a boundary
commission to stop gerrymandering. They were agin [against]a points system for
allocating housing and so on. They were so busy losing they couldn't win. 

With equal political brilliance they have now set their face agin same-sex marriage.
The North is the only part of these islands holding out. Unionists will lose again.
It's inevitable. In the meantime they will hand a marvellous political advantage to
Sinn Féin who will be able, quite correctly, to present themselves as the party of
modernity, freedom and equality. 

For their part unionists will say equality is, wait for it, a Sinn Féin plot.

A previously unheard of political stance. How can you be threatened by equality? The
DUP will strenuously oppose equality but then haven't they always? 

They'll come up with all kinds of red herrings such as clergy being forced to
officiate at same-sex marriages in church, problems with surrogacy, all the rubbish
dredged up in the Republic and dumped by the wayside: all irrelevant. 

The campaign against the DUP will be simply based on equality of status and parity
of esteem and is unanswerable. Unionists can't see that refusing equality is
discrimination against those they won't treat as equal and makes the DUP toxic. 

It doesn't matter that political cowards in other parties here agree with the DUP.
They won't have to say a word because the DUP will lead the charge and act as a
shield for them. 

Even if Sinn Féin gained a majority for a fifth resolution in Stormont in favour of
same-sex marriage the DUP will block it with a so-called petition of concern thereby
taking all the blame. No matter. Their defeat is inevitable. It's quite likely that
a case coming before the courts in November or December will compel a change in the

It's all part of the poisonous legacy of Paisley who managed to create a political
party in his own backward bigoted image, full of hatred and bile. The result is a
party that doesn't resemble the make-up of northern Protestants. There are only
10,000 Free Presbyterians in the north but 30 per cent of DUP members and 40 per
cent of DUP councillors are Free P[resbyterian]. Of 38 DUP MLAs 35 per cent are Free
P. Most northern Protestants don't vote for them yet this tiny sect tries to impose
its outdated, blinkered view of the world on the rest of society here and so far has
succeeded unless the courts have stepped in to defend the majority of people's
rights. Sinn Féin's next big campaign announced on Saturday will be to repeal the
Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which prevents dealing with fatal foetal

On Monday the minister for primary and social care Kathleen Lynch said she believed
it is ‘do-able'. Essentially what has been happening in the Republic in the past 25
years is the dismantling of the social elements of the 1937 constitution in effect
written by Archbishop McQuaid. Bunreacht na hÉireann may as well have had 'nihil
obstat’ [the Church’s imprimatur] printed at the bottom. 

What will be interesting as a result of this decision by Sinn Féin is that same-sex
marriage and abortion reform will both become issues in next year's assembly
elections. The question is whether the issues will produce a sectarian divide or
whether the DUP and the Catholic Church will form an unholy alliance to prevent

At least unionists can no longer claim Home Rule=Rome Rule. You don't suppose Sinn
Féin came up with a strategy of social change as a way of driving a Trojan Horse
into the fortress of sectarian politics, do you?