20/05/2019

Thousands Rally For Equal Marriage

Thousands of people have marched through Belfast to demand recognition of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

The Love Equality march took off from Writer's Square in the city centre on Saturday 18 May, with participants demanding that any re-established Stormont government delivers marriage equality legislation and brings the region into line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

In the continued absence of devolved government, campaigners want the UK to legislate and "end discrimination against same-sex couples", according to the movement which is led by the Rainbow Project, Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, NUS-USI and HereNI.

Sara Canning, the partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee who was shot dead in L'Derry last month, was among those leading the march. She called on Prime Minister Theresa May to legislate on the issue, after losing the woman she planned to marry.
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Ahead of Saturday's event, Ms Canning said: "Lyra and I wanted to get married, surrounded by our families and friends, because we shared a love which meant we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. But, as things stand, the law in Northern Ireland says that the love that Lyra and I shared is not equal.

"It is unbelievable, and simply unacceptable, that in 2019, this discrimination is allowed to continue in any part of the UK or Ireland.

"With Stormont out of action for almost the last two and a half years, we need the UK Government to step in.

"That's what I told Theresa May at Lyra's funeral and that's what I will be saying at the march for marriage equality in Belfast. I hope the Prime Minister is listening. Couples like Lyra and I should not have to wait a day longer for the law to recognise us as equals."

Party leaders and representatives of Sinn Fein, the Green Party, SDLP and Alliance Party also joined the march for change.



(JG/CM)

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