Alliance backs Westminster equal marriage bill

Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister has joined Alliance Leader Naomi Long in backing Connor McGinn MP’s attempts to introduce Equal Marriage in Northern Ireland.

Speaking ahead of the MP’s introduction of a Ten Minute Rule Bill at Westminster on Wednesday, Belfast’s First Citizen met representatives of Love Equality, including Cara McCann and Amanda McGurk who spoke to her about their first hand experiences of living in a Northern Ireland that discriminates against them.

The meeting came as Alliance Leader Naomi Long said “we owe it to the LGBT community to get this done”.

Naomi Long MLA said: “It is hugely embarrassing to all democrats Northern Ireland is the only region of these islands to deny a basic human right to its citizens. Studies have continually shown a majority of people here support the introduction of equal marriage and in the last Assembly, a cross-MLA group consisting of the majority of parties were co-operating on a private members’ bill on the issue.

“While it has a long way to go yet, this week’s introduction of a bill is a major step forward towards the day when LGBT couples in Northern Ireland will finally be able to say I do, and get the same recognition and respect under the law as any other married couple. We owe it to the LGBT community to get this done.”

Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister added: “This is an important week for the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland, and as Lord Mayor I believe it is extremely important for me to showcase my support for extending equal marriage into Northern Ireland.

“People often say that we aren’t a liberal society, but I don’t believe that is true. Over the past year I’ve been amazed at the open, welcoming and inclusive Belfast we have been building – a global Belfast ready to showcase its potential to the world. This is the Northern Ireland we should be promoting, not one who actively discriminates against a large section of society.”

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