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Lord Maginnis, Northern Ireland Ulster Unionist, Resigns After Comparing Gay Sex To Bestiality

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A Northern Irish politician has resigned after comparing homosexuality to bestiality and calling gay marriage "unnatural and deviant behaviour".

Former MP Lord Maginnis quit the Ulster Unionist Party, having been a member for 50 years, saying he had "agonised" over the decision but said he had been dismayed when the party distanced itself from his remarks on a radio show in June.

After his comments on BBC Radio Ulster's The Nolan Show, Lord Maginnis stood by his remarks, referring to "unnatural physical acts" by "deviants".

lord maginnis

Lord Maginnis has waved goodbye to the Ulster Unionists after his comments about gay marriage

"This is based on sexual practice, now does that mean that every deviant practice has to be accommodated? Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?"

The 74-year-old party veteran added: "These are people that seem to take some pride expressing their particular rights. I disagree with those rights and that deviance."

In comments to the Belfast Telegraph, Lord Maginnis described gay relationships as a “rung on the ladder” towards bestiality.

Party leader Mike Nesbitt and senior party members were clearly embarrassed by his attack.

“Lord Maginnis was speaking in a personal capacity without our knowledge or permission and his comments do not reflect Ulster Unionist Party policy,” it said in a statement.

The party later emailed its members which said they must receive clearance from the party Press office before speaking to the media “on any subject."

The UUP later withdrew the party whip from Lord Maginnis, saying: "Mr Nesbitt remains respectful of Lord Maginnis's enormous contribution to the Ulster Unionist Party, to Northern Ireland and to the making of peace, and is hopeful a resolution can be found to enable Lord Maginnis to again contribute to the party's development."

Lord Maginnis said in a statement as he announced his resignation: "I have agonised over the last three months. Currently there is no room for independent or logical thinking (within the party) and that does not suit me."

Gay marriage and equal rights has long been a controversial topic in Northern Ireland.

In 1977, retired Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley launched a campaign called "Save Ulster from sodomy" as he and his followers tried to prevent the liberalisation of gay sex laws.

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