David Ford stated:
“I am deeply concerned at the some of the remarks that were made in yesterday’s Assembly debate on rights and equality, and in particular the comments made by Seamus Close on today’s Talkback.
“The Alliance Party is fully committed to ensuring equality of treatment and access of all citizens, including on grounds of sexual orientation.
“Alliance has supported the introduction of the legislation on civil partnerships. The creation of a civil partnership for a gay or lesbian couple does not in any way detract from the quality of my or any other marriage.
“The governing Council of the Alliance Party endorsed civil partnerships last December. Earlier this month, our Council also endorsed updating the law on adoption, and tightening the law with respect to equality in the provision of goods, facilities and services on grounds of sexual orientation.
“While any public representative may dissent from their party policy from time to time, Alliance policy is clear, representatives have a duty and a responsibility to act in accordance with the law, to promote good relations, and to avoid speaking in an intemperate manner.”