Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 16:10 UK

Minister defends wife in gay row

Peter Robinson
Mr Robinson was appointed Northern Ireland's first minister on Thursday

NI's first minister has defended his wife after her controversial comments about homosexuality.

On Friday, Iris Robinson said homosexuality was an abomination and urged gay people to seek counselling.

Peter Robinson was speaking during assembly question time when he was asked to reassure the public that he was committed to equality for all.

"There is a legal obligation to ensure that no-one in our society is discriminated against," he said.

"I have to say that even if there was no legal obligation I would be at the forefront defending anyone who was being discriminated against.

"And I know my colleague the member for Strangford (Mrs Robinson) would be alongside me in that."

Earlier on Monday, Mrs Robinson, who is an MLA and MP for Strangford, faced fresh criticism over the remarks she made last week on BBC Radio Ulster.

Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson said: "For a politician of her standing to come out and say what she had said, I think it is most unsuitable."

Mrs Robinson went on the radio on Monday morning to insist that she had every right to express her views.

Ms Anderson went on to say that Mrs Robinson should reflect seriously on what she had said and should apologise.

A complaint has been made to the police about Mrs Robinson's comments.

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Iris Robinson speaking to BBC Newsline's Mervyn Jess about her comments

John O'Doherty, a member of the South Belfast District Policing Partnership, said he has complained to police.

"People like Mrs Robinson need to learn that their comments have consequences," he said.

This is the second complaint in relation to the Strangford MP's remarks.




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