Monday, 7 August 2017

Northern Ireland equal marriage campaigner tells leaders "respect the will of the people"

An equal marriage campaigner in Northern Ireland has told leaders its time to respect the will of the people.

Una Mullally made the comments before Amnesty International's Belfast Pride lecture last week, she said the public "overwhelmingly support marriage equality".

Mullally added: "One of the things we need to work on as an island as a whole, is greater solidarity and communication between communities north and south. This is acutely apparent in how the LGBT community's rights have been divided on the island."

"It is absurd that a lesbian or gay couple can get married in Dundalk, but not in Newry. It is absurd too, that politicians continue to veto the equality and rights of people in Northern Ireland, disrespecting the will of the people."

Mullally is an columnist for the Irish Times and authored a book on same sex marriage in Ireland.

She was a key campaigner during equality efforts in the Republic of Ireland, which saw same sex marriage legalised in 2015.

Meanwhile The Northern Ireland Assembly isn't even functioning at the moment, after the collapse of the power-sharing agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein want same sex marriage introduced, but they face strong opposition from the homophobic DUP.

Returning to the essence of Mullally's comments: I think it's really interesting that politicians who are so against same sex marriage, seem to ignore the clear public support for it.

It seems to take threats of being defeated at the ballot box which make them take notice.

For example in Germany many felt Angela Merkel's decision to allow a vote on same sex marriage, was due to looming elections. The Chancellor actually voted against the measure so clearly she hasn't had a change of heart on the issue.

Meanwhile in Australia, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is getting pressure from backbenchers in his own party to allow a vote.

Recent polls show the vast majority of Australian's support same sex marriage. But its only been since Turnbull started to consider he might lose votes, that the rhetoric has changed, and we could see some movement in Australia, as early as this week.

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