MPs will be asked to explain today what gives them the right to refuse to discuss issues that affect hundreds if not thousands of voters.

Pro-democracy campaigners sent letters to all 36 MPs yesterday inviting them to meet them on the lawn of the House of Assembly at lunchtime for a chat.

The peaceful protest comes a week after MPs refused to talk about amendments to the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, one of the Bermuda’s most senior Anglican Church figures, Arnold Hollis, has also spoken out on what happened last week, berating both political parties and church leaders (see his column, below).

The lunchtime protest kicks off at 12.15pm to coincide when the MPs break for lunch.

The letter sent to MPs reads: “While many of your colleagues have expressed various reasons for their silence, reasons I still find hard to fully grasp, I would be very happy to hear your views on the amendment at lunch tomorrow.”

One MP and Cabinet Minister some protestors might make a beeline for is Dale Butler, the Minister in charge of the Human Rights Commission. He fought to put the issue of sexual orientation on the table and then failed to talk about it because he happened to be in the bathroom at the time. He says he was disappointed he didn’t get to speak, but the Opposition think he caved under political pressure from his own party.

Trevor Moniz, who said he didn’t vote because there was no point — the PLP had already decided it wasn’t going to support the amendment, said: “One of the things that disturbed me is Dale Butler. He’s turning into a weather vane. He flip-flops so much he’s losing credibility. He said he was going to support Renee, but he wasn’t in the room and he didn’t stand up and call for names [which would have shown for the record how MPs voted]. It shows a total lack of self-respect and people will eventually say he has no sustenance.”

Michael Dunkley, who says he respects Dale Butler for his energy, was also disappointed. He said: “We thought one of the first people to stand up would be someone from the Cabinet — maybe the Minister responsible for the Human Rights Commission [Dale Butler]. He didn’t carry out his performance as a Minister as expected.”

But the Opposition MPs are not going to be immune from questions because they didn’t speak on the issue either.

Organizers stress the protest, while sparked by last week’s events, is not limited to gay rights, but rather democratic principles. Letters were also sent to the Chamber of Commerce asking bosses to be flexible towards workers who want to attend.