Equal civil marriage should have been resolved at political level – Farry

Alliance North Down MLA Stephen Farry, has said that it is disappointing that equality issues such as equal civil marriage have had to go to the courts to be resolved due to the failure of the Northern Ireland political system to address the issue. His comments were made as a same sex couple, married in England, launched legal proceedings as their marriage is only recognised as a civil partnership in Northern Ireland.

Stephen Farry MLA: “Yet again it appears that people in Northern Ireland have had to go to the courts to resolve an equality issue due to the lack of an agreement being reached at a political level.

“Equal civil marriage is now law elsewhere in the UK, and is also facilitated in a growing number of societies around the world.

“The fact that the location of recent progress around equality issues, such as adoption by civil partners and the lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men, has been the courts, is an indictment of our political system.

“I know that many people will have deeply held convictions around this issue, which is why our party policy includes robust protections for faith groups and religious celebrants so that they will not be forced to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies or have them conducted on their premises.

“Even at this stage, I hope that political parties will urgently engage in constructive dialogue with all relevant groups to ensure progress on this issue, rather than once again leaving it to the courts.”


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