TUV leader Jim Allister has written to the Chief Constable challenging the decision to allow PSNI officers to march in this Saturday’s Belfast Pride parade.
Mr Allister’s letter reads as follows:
Dear Chief Constable,
Re: Belfast Pride Parade
I write to express my dismay that uniformed officers will officially participate in this year’s “Gay Pride” parade in Belfast.
This is a highly politicised event with the demand for a change in the law to permit same sex marriage at its heart. Why is the PSNI joining in this political campaign?
The official slogan for this year’s event is “Demand Change”, which links directly to the campaign for same sex marriage, a point made very clear by the chair of Belfast Pride in the forward to the 2017 Festival Guide.
Why, then, is the PSNI involving itself in a political campaign? Just as I wouldn’t expect the police to involve itself in demands to change the law on abortion, so, lending support to the demand to change the law on marriage is wholly inappropriate.
If, as some claim, it is about showing solidarity against hate crime – which, of course, is wrong who ever is the target – then, why the selectivity by the PSNI. There is no community that has experienced more hate crime than the Orange community, with hundreds of arson and criminal damage attacks on their halls, but no one is suggesting – certainly, not me – that the PSNI should show opposition to these hate crimes by participating in Orange parades. Nor, do I recall any specially liveried PSNI vehicles proclaiming an anti-hate message at the Twelfth! So, why the partisan selectivity in elevating hate crime against LGBT community as alone worthy of police support?
You must also be aware this is a parade with a history of causing gratuitous offence to Christians with its infamous and blasphemous poster “Jesus is a fag”. Yet, as one who professes the Christian faith, you have authorised the participation of your officers in a parade with such a divisive record. What happens if such a poster is displayed again this year?
The fact that the parade is divisive and controversial is signified by the fact that it is marked as “sensitive” on the Parades Commission website. Notice of a protest has also been lodged. Therefore, as well as the PSNI associating themselves with this overtly political event, there are legitimate questions about how the event can be impartially policed when officers are marching in the parade?
I call on you to step in and cancel official PSNI involvement in this political parade.