In June, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council passed a Sinn Féin Notice of Motion to explore the possibility of sending a council delegation to the Belfast Pride Parade, which will take place next Saturday, August 3.
The motion also called for all civic buildings in the district to be lit up with Pride colours for Belfast Pride, while a separate motion put forward by Alliance on the same day will see Pride flags flying above the buildings throughout August.
However, past the rainbow colours, Monday saw ABC councillors quash the motion calling for council representation at Belfast Pride, juxtaposing the historic abortion and equal marriage commitments legislation, which legalised same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland that same day.
Lagan River Alliance councillor Eóin Tennyson expressed his disappointment at the motion’s outcome, describing how a delegation for the council at the event “would have been a small, but incredibly significant gesture of support for the LGBTQ+ community in our borough but particularly for LGBT members of staff within the Council.
“Some councillors cited the cost of participation – a mere £500 – as their reason for voting against this proposal. However, you simply can’t put a price on equality and acceptance,” Tennyson expanded.
In contrast, DUP group leader Mark Baxter used the councillors’ “low interest” towards Belfast Pride to justify his party’s opposition to the pro-LGBT+ motions, arguing that council representation at the annual event was not “value for money”. However, this was deemed a “cover for the narrow-minded political interests and continued denial of rights by some parties” by Sinn Féin councillor Catherine Nelson, who spoke to the BBC.
Sinn Féin councillor for Portadown, Paul Duffy, proposed last month’s motion, and stated that Monday’s motion “was supposed to have promoted the council by showing that it was taking a step forward and it’s just a total step in the wrong direction.
“I’m deeply disappointed, not just for myself but for the whole community,” Duffy continued, adding that he would attend Belfast Pride “irrespective” of the council decision.
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