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Amnesty International calls for marriage equality in Northern Ireland

By Ben Kelly

Amnesty International have called for marriage equality to come to Northern Ireland, calling it, “the last bastion of discrimination against gay people” on the British Isles.


In a statement released by Amnesty’s Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan, the group firstly praised the historic Yes vote passed in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday. “This historic result will echo around the world – it shows how a once socially-conservative country can transform itself into a beacon of equality.

He went on to say, “Northern Ireland is now the last bastion of discrimination against gay people in these islands.

“Northern Ireland’s discriminatory laws are a badge of shame – not to be worn by the people of Northern Ireland, a majority of whom support same-sex marriage, but by those politicians who oppose equal treatment for the LGBTI community.

“The Northern Ireland Executive should waste no more time in fulfilling its first duty to its people – to ensure that none are treated as second-class citizens.”

Although same-sex marriage has been legalised in England, Wales and Scotland, it has yet to be passed in Northern Ireland, where it is a devolved issue. It has been blocked four times in the past two years by the majority DUP.

Yesterday, leading figures in the main opposition party Sinn Fein – who successfully campaigned for the Yes vote in the Republic of Ireland – also called for equality to extend to Northern Ireland. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Politicians, particularly in the north, need to reflect on this progress. The world is moving on and Ireland is taking the lead. Pride in Ireland has taken on a whole new meaning.”

Amnesty International are holding a rally for civil marriage equality in Belfast on Saturday 13th June, which is being spread through social media.


A poll on the Belfast Telegraph website current shows 87% of readers in Northern Ireland supporting calls for marriage equality.