Alliance Party Deputy Leader and Spokesperson on Equality Issues, Eileen Bell MLA has welcomed the news that proposed legislation on Civic Partnerships will extend to Northern Ireland.
Mrs Bell responded favourably to the recent consultation exercise from the Department of Finance and Personnel – Office of Law Reform to see if it should apply to Northern Ireland with respect to ‘transferred’ matters, in addition to the ‘reserved’ and ‘excepted’ matters currently controlled by the Westminster Parliament. The full consultation document is available at www.olrni.gov.uk
Eileen Bell stated:
“It is clear that there are many gay and lesbian people who are living within stable relationships, whose interest in each other’s affairs is not protected by law. This can often cause anguish to partners whenever an illness, life-crisis or death occurs.
“It is appropriate that these relationships can now be placed upon a firm legal footing.
“I am comfortable that what is being proposed is fundamentally different from a marriage.
“In recognising civil unions and the rights that go with them, there is no detraction from the quality of married relationships and the importance of the family.
“Recognising the rights and status of some, does not detract from the rights and status of anyone else.”