“We’ve had enough of a history in our society in Northern Ireland of discrimination, mistrust and hatred”
The Taken star was joined by The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and Hollyoak’s Bronagh Waugh in calling on the Northern Irish government to introduce same-sex marriage ahead of a march, organised by the Love Equality coalition, which will take place on Saturday, July 1.
“We’ve had enough of a history in our society in Northern Ireland of discrimination, mistrust and hatred,” said Ballymena native Neeson in a statement released today through Amnesty International, one of the members of the Love Equality coalition.
“Yet, we’re also an open-hearted, welcoming and terrific people. Let us show that to the world by treating gay, lesbian and transgender peoples as our brothers and sisters and allowing them to marry, if they so wish. By joining the rest of Ireland and other western countries in celebrating equality we can also attract more investment to our province.”
“We have shown the world how we can affect a peace accord when many thought it impossible (1998 Good Friday Agreement),” continued Neeson. “We must act on this and welcome all members of society through civil marriages, while still keeping our Christian values.
“Love, is love, is love.”
Northern Ireland remains one of the only Western European countries to still not have full marriage equality – despite it being legal in the south of Ireland, and the mainland UK.
The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) have resisted attempts to introduce same-sex marriage through the years, utilising the ‘petition of concern’ to veto legislative changes. Although the party no longer has sufficient electoral muscle to use the petition of concern to block changes, the DUP’s recent partnership with Theresa May’s Conservative Party – and a £1 billion windfall – may still make progress on the issue difficult to achieve.
The March for Civil Marriage Equality takes place on Saturday, July 1 at 2.30pm at the Writer’s Square Belfast and people from the Republic of Ireland are being encouraged to take the 11:20am ‘love train’ from Dublin to Belfast to show their solidarity with the Northern Irish LGBT+ community.
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