Chris Lyttle MLA said: “The Alliance Party is committed to a shared society for everyone that is based on civil and religious liberty and equality for all, regardless of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
“The Alliance Party believes that in a democratic society, state provided services should be available to all citizens. Civil Marriage is a state provided service and is required by the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 to be secular, which is to have no religious or spiritual basis.
“The Alliance Party therefore supports the extension of state provided civil marriage to same sex couples, provided that robust legislative protection can uphold the religious freedom of faith groups to define and practice religious marriage as they determine.
“Dialogue and mutual respect are, however, vital if we are to see equal civil marriage introduced in Northern Ireland.
“Alliance will also continue to work on issues such as adoption, the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood and homophobic bullying in schools. I welcome the work by Justice Minister David Ford to introduce a ban on homophobic chanting and Employment & Learning Minister Stephen Farry on workplace equality.”