Parties Urged To Support Marriage Equality Amendment

MPs in Northern Ireland have been urged to support an amendment that would secure marriage equality in the region if the power-sharing government is not restored at Stormont.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood issued the call as Labour MP Conor McGinn leads a cross-party group on extending marriage equality to Northern Ireland.

Five years after the LGBT community gained the legal right to wed in England, Scotland and Wales, Northern Ireland remains the only region not to allow same-sex unions.

A statement issued by the Foyle MLA yesterday said: "The LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland has endured state sponsored discrimination for far too long. It is to our shame that public representatives here have been unable to create the space where two people can have their love recognised by their family, friends and in the eyes of the law in marriage.
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"Where we have failed, others now have the opportunity to send a powerful message of hope and acceptance to our LGBT+ community that the love they share is as equal as any other. I am calling on MPs from all parties to contribute to the liberation of Northern Ireland's LGBT+ citizens by supporting the amendment to the NI Executive Formation Bill tabled by Conor McGinn. He has done an immense amount of work alongside the Love Equality coalition to deliver this basic civil right."

The amendment would see same-sex marriage legalised by the end of October if a new Stormont Executive isn't formed by then.

Mr Eastwood continued: "We know that the discrimination faced by members of the LGBT+ community doesn't begin and end at Marriage. The SDLP will continue to press for stronger laws to protect children from homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in our schools, we'll continue to campaign for equal access to healthcare including drugs and treatments that will save lives and improve quality of life and we'll continue to support our trans community in the pursuit of gender recognition legislation that meets their needs.

"But for today, this is a fight that we can win. I would encourage all MPs to deliver Marriage Equality for a community that has fought hard and refuses to be treated as second class any longer."


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