Stephen Doughty the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth tabled an urgent question in the House of Commons yesterday following the gay night-club atrocity in Orlando Florida in which 50 people were murdered.
Doughty asked the Home Secretary Theresa May to make a statement on “the terrorism threat” and on “wider security measures in the UK in the light of the horrific attacks on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Orlando, USA”.
[PDN Note: At the time of his question it had not been revealed that the perpetrator was a regular customer at the gay club ]
The Home Secretary replied that “The attacks in Orlando on Saturday night were utterly evil and the Government condemn them completely. At least 49 people were murdered and a further 53 people were injured, many of them seriously. Those people were enjoying a night out when the attacks took place, and our hearts go out to them, their families and their friends. This is the deadliest mass shooting in US history. It was an outrage committed to spread fear and born out of hatred. As President Obama has said, the US authorities are treating it as a terrorist attack and Daesh has claimed responsibility. It is clear that such an attack has its roots in a twisted ideology which counts homophobia as a cornerstone of its warped world view.
The Home Secretary went on to say “This was not just an act of terror, but an act of homophobic hatred and I want to make it clear to all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Britain and around the world that we will not tolerate such bigotry and violence. We will work closely with the United States and we will continue to offer them our assistance and support. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies and friends in the global fight against terrorism, fear and hatred. As the investigation into the attack continues, more information will emerge. UK police forces will be further reviewing plans for large-scale and other public events over the coming days and weeks. The police have not advised any organisers to cancel or postpone any LGBT-related events.”
Doughty thanked Mrs May for her statement and then said “We think we are making progress, and then we are faced with horrors such as this—an unspeakable act of both homophobia and terror, of murder and of hate, and an attack on the LGBT community, who are now mourning their loved ones in Orlando, and on equal love and equality worldwide. Orlando, we stand with you in this House. I stand with you as a gay man, and I know that millions across this country, of all faiths and of none, will do the same.”
“For all our progress, far too many around this world suffer death and attack every day in the LGBT community. There have been other attacks in the United States, such as the attempted firebombing in Seattle in 2014 or the horrific death of Matthew Shepard. Many have been thrown off buildings in Syria, whipped and chemically castrated in Saudi Arabia, tortured in Iran or Cameroon, and attacked in Uganda or Ethiopia and by right-wing death squads in Brazil and Mexico, and across many countries in the middle east and Africa—let alone those denied basic rights in so many other countries, and even still in parts of our own.”
“While our gut instinct is often, quite frankly, to stand up boldly to the homophobes, the transphobes, the haters and the terrorists—to go out in Pride, to go to our clubs and to stand with our partners—many will, understandably, be worried about our own safety. From the horrific Admiral Duncan attacks to the many reported and unreported hate crimes against LGBT+ people in this country, we all know that it could have been us.”
This morning however it’s emerged that the gunman Omar Mateen – who carried out Saturday night’s atrocity – was a regular customer at the gay night club himself .
He had also been identified on a gay dating app. At least four patrons have now said they saw Mateen drinking at the Pulse bar several times before the shooting.
One said he had been going to the gay bar for “at least three years.”