Northern Ireland LGBT protest will demand action on same-sex marriage
LGBT activists in Northern Ireland are urging people to take part in a July 1st protest against the DUP which has continually refused to allow for same-sex marriage.
As mainland UK residents have been exposed to the archaic beliefs of the DUP, campaigners are hoping to ramp up the pressure on the party to change its stance at a time when its policies on social issues are under renewed scrutiny.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is currently in talks with the DUP to prop up a minority Conservative government. It is widely expected that such a coalition will not take place following a backlash from other parties as well as many within the Conservative party.
The DUP has rejected any suggestion it is homophobic, insisting it is instead protecting the “traditional” definition of marriage.
The party has used the “petition of concern” mechanism to block same-sex marriage in the province time and again. Although the DUP no longer has the electoral strength to deploy a petition of concern in its own right, it could still potentially combine with other MLAs to do so.
John O’Doherty, of LGBT health group the Rainbow Project, said:
“It is time for government to respect the will of the people of Northern Ireland, which is overwhelmingly in support of civil marriage equality.
“This march will be a demonstration of that support, a call for the people to be heard in the corridors of Stormont and of Westminster.
“Support for marriage equality crosses traditional political and religious differences in Northern Ireland, so we call on people of all backgrounds to join us on this great march for equality.”
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, added:
“There is now a very clear majority within the Northern Ireland Assembly in favour of marriage equality. But if Stormont is incapable of delivering equality for the people of Northern Ireland then, through direct rule, it is the responsibility of the Westminster government.
“Marriage equality in Northern Ireland is a litmus test for whether or not any future government is committed to treating all citizens of this country equally. No backroom politics can be allowed to stand in the way of equality.”