Naomi Long MP said: “It was great to see such a large turnout at this rally. It is important that we tell those behind this proposal that they don’t speak for the many Christians who believe that equality, human rights and freedom of conscience and belief are for everyone, whether we agree with them or not.
“I am a passionate advocate of freedom of conscience and belief but this clause will not advance that. In fact, this legislation will open the door for further exemptions to rights and equality, which will ultimately affect us all. Only by protecting the rights and freedoms of others can we defend and secure our own rights in society. This proposal, far from being a conscience clause, is a charter for discrimination against the LGBT community and an assault on wider equality provisions. The law already allows reasonable balance between rights of conscience and obligations under equality law.
“I say ‘no’ to this conscience clause because I say ‘yes’ to freedom of conscience and belief; I say ‘no’ to this conscience clause because I say ‘yes’ to equality and human rights for all; I say ‘no’ to this conscience clause and I look forward to the day when the Assembly will say ‘no’ to it as well.”