Christian MP cleared over gay comments

Ulster MP Iris Robinson has been cleared of any wrongdoing after homosexual groups complained about comments she made on a radio show last year.

During the radio interview Mrs Robinson quoted the biblical word “abomination” and suggested counselling could help those struggling with same-sex attraction.

Following what has been described as a “politically-motivated” complaint to the police, Mrs Robinson was told in March that no charges were to be brought against her.

Now the Northern Ireland Assembly ombudsman, Tom Frawley, has cleared her of breaking the Assembly code, according to a report leaked to the Belfast News Letter.

Mr Frawley said he had read transcripts of the radio show and concluded that “much of the language that gave rise to the complaint was introduced to the discussion by the interviewer rather than by Mrs Robinson”.

He added: “Effectively she was asked if she agreed with the dictionary definition of particular words and language that is used in the Bible in relation to homosexuality.

“Mrs Robinson made it clear in her first interview of June 6 that comments she had made in a previous discussion in which it appears she described homosexuality as an ‘abomination’ were, ‘scriptural, and what I clarified it with was very very clear that my Christian belief teaches me that you love the sinner and hate the sin and that goes right across every type of sin’.”

The report is expected to be presented to the Assembly’s Standards and Privileges Committee.

Mrs Robinson said: “I trust that the Commissioner has found in favour of MLAs being able to express and hold personal religious beliefs. It would be a sad day for religious freedom, democracy, and freedom of speech when MLAs are told that they are not allowed to hold or express scriptural beliefs.

“People know and understand that I was asked to make a comment on my religious beliefs and I did so. It was never my intention to cause hurt or offence to any person. The complaints that were levelled in my direction were quite clearly politically-motivated.”

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