Marriage Equality campaigners in Northern Ireland have requested an urgent meeting with the new Secretary of State Karen Bradley to discuss the issue of marriage equality.
In a letter, the Love Equality coalition have outlined that dealing with the issue must be part of any settlement to restore Stormont.
If this does not happen, they wish for legislation to be introduced by the UK Government at Westminister.
This follows an announcement made last week by Mrs Bradley that a new phase of talks will take place over the coming weeks.
The letter was sent by a coalition of LGBT groups including the Rainbow Project, Here NI and Cara Friend, as well as Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and Students’ Union body the NUS-USI.
The letter states: “As the Secretary of State, with an interest in ensuring sustainable, credible devolved government in Northern Ireland, we urge you to work with the parties to ensure that a return to government is accompanied by a watertight commitment from the parties to the passage of marriage equality legislation.
“Agreement to a further process to review the petition of concern, subsequent to the restoration of devolution, and without any clear or guaranteed outcome, would not meet this test.
“If there is no return to devolved government, we ask that you introduce equal marriage legislation at Westminster to bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK.
“While our preference is for equal marriage legislation to be passed by the Assembly, further delay is now unacceptable and you will have our very public support in taking such legislative action to uphold the rights of lesbian and gay people here.”
Karen Bradley has replaced the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, who left the role earlier this year for health reasons.
Mrs Bradley who is a member of the Consevative party was the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport prior to her current position. She became Secretary of State during a government re-shuffle in January and it is believed that she is supportive of LGBT+ rights.
A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI found that 70% of the citizens of Northern Ireland support same-sex marriage. It also found that 50% of DUP supporters are in favour of marriage equality.
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