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KING'S RANSOM; But gay UUP man Stephen won't kiss and tell.

Byline: LIZ TRAINOR

A SENIOR UUP aide who caused a storm when he wed his gay lover last month says he's been inundated with requests to sell the story!

But Stephen King, who married his long-term partner Jean Claude in Canada last month, said there's no way he'll spill the beans on his private life.

The UUP spin doctor - a close advisor of party leader David Trimble - caused upset in some quarters when it emerged he'd wed his gay lover.

The DUP were first out of the block with Ian Paisley Jnr describing the union as 'offensive and obnoxious'.

But supporters of King rallied and were quick to applaud his stance.

But since he returned from his New York honeymoon in January Mr King has revealed that the Ulster Tatler, The Dubliner and even political magazine Magill have offered to run colour spreads on the happy event.

Stephen, who is refusing to go public on his private life, said: "I don't really want to comment at all on any aspect of it because it is a private matter between two people and not the readership of any paper. It shouldn't really be a big deal."

The senior UUP aide, who'll be pivotal in the party's forthcoming election campaign, said he'd received no negative feedback from members of the public about his gay marriage.

"On one hand you're a super hero and on the other you're not, it doesn't really matter.

"A few people who I don't know have come up to me and shook my hand but there's been nothing negative," he said.

But he said he couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.

There was a storm of protest last month when Ian Paisley Jnr hit out at the same sex union describing it as wrong and offensive.

And he questioned the judgement of UUP leader David Trimble for employing King as a political advisor.

But UUP councillor Chris MGimpsey said there had been no secret about Mr King's sexual orientation and the DUP was merely trying to score cheap political points.

Gay rights campaigners also weighed in behind Mr King.

Gay rights spokesman PA MacLochlainn criticised Mr Paisley for 'school boy sniping', saying King was a man of vision and one of the best things to ever happen to the UUP.

liz.trainor@people.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

STEPHEN: No comment; CRITICAL: Paisley Jnr
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 20, 2005
Words:397
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