Northern Ireland leader Arlene Foster said her party’s opposition to same-sex marriage will continue after attending the funeral of murdered gay journalist Lyra McKee.
Foster said she sympathized with the 29-year-old’s partner, Sara Canning, and her family over the tragedy, which occurred on 18 April. But she clarified: ‘you shouldn’t conflate sympathy and empathy with the political issue… of marriage’.
This is after Catholic priest Fr Martin Magill willingly acknowledged and respected the relationship between McKee and Canning at the funeral.
‘You shouldn’t conflate sympathy with a political issue’
RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland program asked the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party on 25 April her views of the priest’s words.
She told them: ‘We have a long standing policy which hasn’t changed, that remains the position of the party.
‘That doesn’t mean I cannot sympathize and empathize with Sara and say to her that we feel her love. 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 the political issue that is the definition of marriage.’
The DUP has always been opposed to same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. This is despite the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland enjoying equal marriage.
A masked gunman allegedly shot Lyra McKee as she reported on the riots in Derry on Thursday. The gunman is reportedly a part of the New Irish Republican Army.
Thousands of people paid tribute to McKee, described as a ‘rising star’ in journalism thanks to her investigative reporting.