An MP from Northern Ireland has been reported to the police for expressing her religious beliefs on homosexual practice.
Iris Robinson, DUP MP for Strangford, was speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show on Friday.
She said the Bible describes homosexuality as an “abomination”. She also said that homosexuals should seek counselling.
John O’Doherty, Co-Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board LGBT Reference Group, has made a formal complaint to the police about the remarks.
“People like Mrs Robinson need to learn that their comments have consequences,” he said.
Last night the Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed that they were investigating a complaint.
Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP MP for Lagan Valley, said: “This is a country where people have freedom of speech.”
“If someone has made a complaint then the matter will be investigated, I don’t believe that Iris has broken any law so I don’t believe the police investigation will lead to anything.”
It is not the first time that complaints to the police have been used to target those who express opposition to homosexual conduct.
In 2003 the Anglican Bishop of Chester who was investigated by police because he gave an interview to his local paper pointing to research showing that some homosexuals had changed to heterosexuality.
In 2005 Police questioned the family-values campaigner, Lynette Burrows, after she expressed the view on BBC Radio 5 Live that homosexual men may not be suitable for raising children.
In 2006 Sir Iqbal Sacranie, then head of the Muslim Council of Britain, was investigated by police after he said on BBC Radio 4′s PM Programme that the practice of homosexuality is not acceptable.
None of these investigations resulted in any charges.
In December 2006 Lancashire police settled out of court with a pensioner couple who had been investigated by officers because they criticised their local council’s ‘gay rights’ policy.
The police admitted their actions were wrong and changed their policies to take more account of religious liberty and free speech.