It appears that on Tuesday the MP and MLA tried to defend her comments made on Stephen Nolan's Radio Ulster show last Friday in the Belfast Telegraph. To be perfectly honest she didn't do the greatest job of it. For starters this:
"I love them [homosexual]; that is what the Lord tells me, to love the sinner and not the sin. And just as a murderer can be redeemed by the blood of Christ so can a homosexual."
Ouch! First when trying to explain herself by accusing a whole subset of the population of requiring psychiatric treatment this comparison was bound to spark further fury rather than quenching the flames she'd set off earlier. Does this mean she sees homosexuality on a par with murder. If she is taking her bible literally both should be taken outside immediately and stoned to death, mind so should every adulterer. Is that what she wants to happen? There has even been a letter in the Belfast Telegraph from Changing Attitude, a church network seeking affirmation for Gay and lesbian Christians in Ireland, criticising her negative view of homosexuality and Christianity.
She secondly went on to defend her comments as her right to free speech. But hang on just a second her right to free speech is one thing but shouldn't it also apply to those who she has condemned, suggested they needed to change, even seek unsubstantiated psychiatric help. They have the right to free speech too, the also have the right to be protected from potentially harmful and hateful comments. If such comments were to come from someone with a responsible, authoritative position surely the need for protection is all the greater. Sorry Iris that defence cannot work on this not in light of you position as chair of the Health Committee, your speech needs to be more guarded as you balance you public life and responsibilities, especially in so public a forum.
In the last week as well as being investigated by the police, she is going to probed by the Assembly's standards committee and she may be being sued under the Public Order Act — article 9 — which deals with threatening behaviour and insulting words.