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DUP leader says party’s stance on gay marriage hasn’t change following the murder of journalist Lyra McKee

Arlene Foster attended the funeral of the lesbian journalist who was shot dead last week

By Steve Brown

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said her party’s stance on gay marriage is still the same despite sympathising with the partner of murdered lesbian journalist Lyra McKee.

The out journalist was tragically shot dead last week and following her murder, the New IRA took responsibility for her death and a woman was arrested in connection with the murder.

On Wednesday (April 24), hundreds of people gathered for Lyra’s funeral including Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Arlene Foster – the leader of the anti-gay Northern Irish political party.

Following the funeral, Foster was asked on RTE’s Morning Ireland about why her party refused Lyra marriage equality and whether the DUP would change their views but the party leader revealed their position had not changed.

She said: “We have a long standing policy which hasn’t changed. That remains the position of the party.

“That doesn’t mean I cannot sympathise and empathise with Sara and say to her that we feel her love.

Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA

“Her loss was all of our loss because this was a young woman who was doing great things in journalism and living her life in a city that she adopted.

“You shouldn’t conflate the two issues of empathy and sympathy and a political issue which is the definition of marriage.”

Stormont – Northern Ireland’s parliament – collapsed almost three years ago and while Foster said the fall of Stormont did not contribute to Lyra’s death, she admitted the party shares responsibility for not having an assembly.

She continued: “It [the violence] was fuelled by people who wanted to use violence to further their own warped political agenda.

“That’s why Lyra is dead, and I think most people objectively think that is right.

“That’s not to say we don’t share responsibility for not having an assembly, of course we do. It’s wrong. That’s why I believe we need to get it up and running as quickly as possible.

“We need to have an agreement that works for nationalism and unionism. We want to see a balanced deal for all the people of Northern Ireland.”