The leaders of Ireland’s successful equal marriage campaign have called on the Irish Government to put pressure on Westminster to legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, in a joint statement published today.
The intervention comes more than two years after the collapse of Northern Ireland’s devolved government and three years after the introduction of equal marriage in the Republic of Ireland. Earlier this month, the deputy head of the Government of Ireland, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, met with members of Northern Ireland’s Love Equality campaign, which is working to secure equal marriage for the region.
The signatories of the statement – including Yes Equality, Amnesty International, Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Belong To, Marriage Equality and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) – played a key role in the successful marriage equality campaign in the Republic of Ireland in 2015, which saw 62% of people vote Yes to equal marriage.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland which still bans marriage for same-sex couples, despite majority support for equal marriage amongst the public and in the Northern Ireland Assembly. At least 55 out of 90 Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly have publicly voiced their support for marriage equality legislation but have been unable to legislate since the collapse of Stormont on January 9, 2017.
The letter states that LGBT+ couples in Northern Ireland have bee made to “pay the price for political failure”:
“The Irish government should take every opportunity to make representations to their counterparts in London to right this wrong.
“If it chooses, the Stormont Assembly can legislate on the matter in its own right when it returns, but meanwhile, LGBT+ couples must not be made to pay the price of political failure. The Irish government must do all within its power to ensure that love wins.”
Read the full letter here.
1.2% of people in NI identify as LGB
New government statistics show that Northern Ireland has the lowest proportion of out lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK.
While the overall UK percentage has increased from 1.5% to 2% over the last five years, the new figures out the NI percentage at 1.2% in 2017.
The ONS figures are estimates based on data from the Annual Population Survey.
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