A group of marriage equality advocates in Northern Ireland drafted and sent a letter to the Irish government to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Currently, Northern Ireland is the only country in the United Kingdom that does not allow same-sex marriage. Any same-sex marriages that happen outside of the country are recognized only as civil partnerships within Northern Ireland.
This letter asks the Irish government to ‘put pressure on Westminster’. Specifically, to put pressure on a push for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Deputy head of the Government of Ireland, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, met with people within the country’s Love Equality campaign to draft the letter.
Involved organizations included Yes Equality, Amnesty International, Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), and more.
A majority of people (76%) support same-sex marriage in the country. In 2015, a majority of Northern Ireland’s parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage, but the conservative Christian Democratic Unionist Party blocked it.
The letter reads…
Tánaiste Simon Coveney’s meeting in Belfast with the Love Equality coalition, which is campaigning for marriage equality in Northern Ireland, is to be welcomed.
It is wholly unacceptable that, years after the introduction of equal marriage legislation in every other part of the UK and Ireland, same-sex couples north of the border should continue to face discrimination.
This is despite overwhelming support for marriage equality among the Northern Ireland public, as demonstrated in poll after poll, and the cross-party support of at least 55 of the 90 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
This past week marks the two-year anniversary of the official collapse of institutions at Stormont. Since then, that Assembly has not had the power to legislate. Currently, there is not even a talks process, never mind an agreement for a return of devolved government.
That being the case, the only legislature and the only government able to address this inequality is at Westminster.
The Irish government should take every opportunity to make representations to their counterparts in London to right this wrong.
If it chooses, the Stormont Assembly can legislate on the matter in its own right when it returns, but meanwhile, LGBT+ couples must not be made to pay the price of political failure. The Irish government must do all within its power to ensure that love wins.