Referendum result is a massive step forward for equality – Muir

Alliance Party President, Cllr Andrew Muir, has welcomed the result of the Irish referendum on marriage equality. 62% of the public voted in favour of the referendum.

Cllr Andrew Muir said: “This is a momentous day for supporters of equal civil marriage and a massive step forward for equality. The people of Ireland should be proud of what they have achieved.

“For years I struggled with my own sexuality but in 1996 I finally found the courage to come out, stepping forward later as a visible civic leader, who happens to be gay. Nineteen years later I am ecstatic and emotional to see Ireland take such a transformative step forward by voting Yes to Marriage Equality, signifying a changed nation which includes and values lesbian and gay people as equal citizens. It has been heart-warming to receive many messages of support from family, friends and constituents celebrating this historic moment.

“This result now means that Northern Ireland is the only region in these isles that has not legalised equal civil marriage. There must now be great pressure brought to ensure that we follow suit.

“Whilst the NI Assembly has blocked progress to date, I am confident that in the context of this watershed moment we shall also overcome in Northern Ireland and also secure equal civil marriage in the years ahead whether via the Assembly, Westminster or the Courts. Nobody ever thought previous legal changes would have been possible but with courage and commitment, equality was delivered. Momentum to build a truly shared, inclusive and equal society is growing daily.

“There have been calls for Northern Ireland to have its own referendum but we have already echoed the concerns made by many LGBT groups about such a proposal. There are specific issues regarding the Irish constitution which required a referendum but we would be wary of putting people’s rights up to a vote.

“Alliance will continue to work with different groups to finally see equal civil marriage achieved in Northern Ireland.”


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