Over 1,000 people attended a trio of rallies in Northern Ireland at the weekend against the Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) planned “conscience clause” bill.
The rallies, held in Belfast, Derry and Newry, attracted an estimated 1,200 demonstrators, who marched against a proposed bill which would protect businesses – like Asher’s Bakery, who have been engaged in a civil action by the North’s Equality Commission after refusing to bake a cake with a slogan in support of gay marriage last year – from legal retribution if they decline custom on “religious grounds”.
LGBT faith-based group, Changing Attitudes Ireland (CAI) together with trade unions and some of the province’s political parties marched against the proposed bill, which they say is “a licence to discriminate”.
Amnesty International’s Patrick Corrigan, in a statement ahead of the rally, said: “This is not about freedom of religion, this is about treating a section of our population as second-class citizens.”
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