Well one party was hardly surprising in its absence even though this year the LGBT Community had gone to them and met in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings itself. However, it was the way in which future Health Minister Jim Wells turned down his invite to be the DUP. In a text to one of the Pride organisers he said:
"I understand that you contacted my Kilkeel office regarding what is termed a 'Belfast Pride' debate.
"As you are probably know I find the behavior of those who take part in this march totally repugnant.
"I do not thereforee wish to be association in any way with this event.
"My position on this matter will not change in the future and I would politely suggest that any further requests of this nature will be a total waste of your time."
Now there was no inappropriate behaviour at the Long Gallery Pride on the Hill event yesterday. There were questions about teen suicide, adoption, sex-education in schools all of which have some connection to a health portfolio. All things that you'd expect a future Health Minister to want to engage with all sectors about their concerns, if not now at least in the future. But as you can see from the comments above perhaps not.
In clarifying his comments to the Irish News Mr Wells comments included this:
"The parade is repugnant - the costumes they wear and the way they behave during it."
I was planning on wearing my kilt on Saturday. I hope my knees are no more repugnant than the pipe bands who march with the Loyal Orders or take part in band competitions across Northern Ireland. My behaviour will be to walk along with the LGBT Lib Dems in Northern Ireland and out friends, aslo the Greens, Alliance Party and SDLP. Even the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor will be at the head of the parade. Are our walking, possibly keeping in beat with the music repugnant?
There are of course people in Northern Ireland who find the activities of certain other parades to be repugnant. But the DUP will defend the right of these to walk where they want, how they want to the hilt.