Alliance LGBT Chair Micky Murray has said it is only a matter of time before equal marriage becomes legal in Northern Ireland, after the Secretary of State said it could be introduced via Westminster.
Karen Bradley said while it should be a matter for Stormont, if it was raised at Westminster, the Government would allow a free vote on the issue. She was responding to a written question from Labour MP Conor McGinn, who asked if she would bring forward legislative proposals on equal marriage.
“Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has written to the Secretary of State outlining a number of options to get powersharing up and running again here,” said Mr Murray.
“In it, she asks the Government to seriously consider legislating for equal marriage, as well as reform of the petition of concern (POC) mechanism, to help remove some of the roadblocks to the restoration of devolution.
“A majority of MLAs support marriage equality, with it passing through the Assembly on the last vote relating to it, only being blocked by the DUP’s use of the POC. While we would rather a restored Assembly with a reformed POC deal with the issue, today’s comments from the Secretary of State are welcome.
“Ideally, those who have long campaigned for marriage equality would be able to attend the momentous occasion it passes in their local Assembly. However, in the absence of that institution, I invite a Member of Parliament to bring forward a Private Member’s Bill on the matter.
“Marriage equality will come to Northern Ireland – it is now a matter of when and how, not if.”