The award of an MBE to Ballymena councillor Maurice Mills in the Queen’s New Year honours has put the spotlight firmly on the long serving DUP man’s fundamentalist views on gay people.
His comments from some years ago blaming the spread of AIDS in Africa on gay people engaging in the “filthy practice of sodomy” and statements claiming that Hurricane Katrina was God’s revenge on New Orleans for staging a Gay Pride festival have come back to haunt him with coverage right across the world wide web.
The Northern Ireland LGBT rights organisation the Rainbow Project demanded that his party reject Cllr Mills’s comments but the DUP declined to do so. The DUP councillor has never retracted his remarks.
Mayor of Ballymena, Cllr Audrey Wales MBE, a DUP colleague of Mr. Mills, said he had worked tirelessly in a wide variety of roles and positions during the lifetime of Ballymena Borough Council.
Alderman Mills first became an elected member in 1972 and during his 43 years of service has served as Mayor three times (2007, 2008 and 2010) and Deputy Mayor on 10 occasions between 1979 and 2006.
Due to retire in March 2015, Ald Mills said: “I don’t see this honour as being for myself – rather I see it as an honour for the Borough and for local government and the recognition of the role it has to play in the affairs of our country.”