MP: Same-sex marriage change enjoys overwhelming support
Introducing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland enjoys overwhelming support, the MP spearheading the change said.
Labour’s Co Armagh-born parliamentarian Conor McGinn is leading Westminster efforts to alter the law in the absence of devolution.
Same-sex marriage is currently outlawed, even though civil partnerships are allowed.
Campaigners met Mr McGinn in Belfast on Wednesday ahead of what they said was a potential landmark vote in the House of Commons on Thursday.
Mr McGinn said: “Any week where politics changes people’s lives, makes people more equal and a little bit happier is a good week to be a member of parliament.”
Last week, Mr McGinn moved an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill which was passed in the House of Common by a vote of 383 to 73.
The proposal is that if Stormont is not restored by October 21, then the British Government should legislate for same-sex marriage – provided a future assembly could overturn or amend the law.
Northern Ireland’s largest party, the DUP, believes marriage is only between a man and a woman and has used a peace process mechanism known as a petition of concern to prevent changes to the law from being passed at Stormont.
Mr McGinn said the House of Lords was debating further amendments to the draft law on same-sex marriage on Wednesday.
He added: “I think there is overwhelming support across the houses of parliament for these measures.
“I also think there is overwhelming support in the community here in Northern Ireland.
“The action was at Westminster in terms of the law, but the people that it affects live here and that is why I wanted to be here today, meeting with the Love Equality campaign, who have driven this forward.
“All I was was the right man in the right place at the right time, to be able to act as a conduit for the Love Equality campaign.”
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International and a key member of Love Equality, said people across the UK should be mobilised to ask their MPs to vote yes to change.
He said: “We are on the cusp of human rights history here.
“A chance not just to change the law on equal marriage but also on abortion, to finally deliver equality and equal access to rights for people living in Northern Ireland.”