The Alliance Party has written to the gay and lesbian organisations within Northern Ireland to reiterate its approach to equality matters and in particular civil partnerships, in the wake of the decision by Lisburn City Council to prohibit the use of its marriage room for such unions.
Alliance Party Leader, David Ford stated: “Given the recent controversy regarding the decision of Lisburn City Council with respect to how they intend to handle civil partnerships, Alliance wants to reassure the representatives of the gay and lesbian section of our community of the Party’s position on civil partnerships and other matters.
“Alliance supports an open, free and fair society, and respects diversity. We are promoting a society based on sharing not on the segregation of any
section of the community. Alliance is committed to equality of opportunity, equality of treatment, quality of access, and equality under the law for
all people, including on grounds of sexual orientation.
“To this end, we have supported the extension of the law on civil partnerships to Northern Ireland, and our Equality Spokesperson, Eileen Bell, responded favourably to the consultation exercise conducted in March 2004. We recognise that where two people are prepared to make a commitment to one another that they should have the legally protected rights in relation to each other’s affairs. A number of representatives have spoken in favour of the new legislation in the print and broadcast media, and within the various Council chambers.
“At our Party Executive this week, it was agreed that a letter would be issued to all elected representatives reiterating the party position, and reminding them of their duties both under the civil partnership legislation but also the wider equality duties. With reference to the situation in Lisburn Council, Party Officers have been instructed to meet with our Lisburn Councillors to resolve this matter.”