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Sir Ian McKellen joins fight for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

Sir Ian McKellen joins fight for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

Sir Ian McKellen is fighting for equality in Northern Ireland

Sir Ian McKellen has joined the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland that still does not allow same-sex couples to get married. The Assembly will vote on the issue for the fifth time later today (2 November).

The proposal is still set to fail due to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and its insistence of opposing every single equality measure for LGBTI people.

‘As a gay Englishman, whose ancestors hail from County Antrim, I am concerned that the Northern Ireland Assembly should establish full legal equality for LGBT residents in Northern Ireland,’ Sir Ian said.

‘Northern Irish people should not  be the victims at home of specious arguments in favor of inequality. They should not have to travel to Britain nor to the Republic, to be treated equally.

‘Just as coming out as a gay person, changes one’s life entirely for the better, coming out as a country, in favor of equality, will bring credit to the entire citizenry, regardless of their sexuality or gender.

‘I hope the vote will give us all a chance to celebrate the unity of civil rights already enjoyed by LGBT people in adjacent countries.’

Patrick Corrigan, of the human rights organization Amnesty International, has also opposed anti-LGBTI laws in Northern Ireland.

Amnesty_International_Belfast_Pride
Amnesty International/Facebook

‘I was always taught that you should love your neighbor as yourself and treat others as you would want to be treated,’ he said. ‘That is at the core of my understanding of equality and my understanding of morality.

‘…If the code by which you live your life tells you that it is OK to treat some people as inferior, then you need to take a good, hard look at yourself. Your moral compass is broken.’

And Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, told Gay Star News that he considers the slow progress ‘outrageous’.

Peter_Tatchell_Birmingham
Joe Morgan/Gay Star News

‘It’s outrageous that a part of the UK still sanctions legal discrimination against same-sex couples. This is mostly down to the Democratic Unionist Party which has for four decades opposed every single gay equality measure,’ he said.

‘They are out of touch with Northern Irish public opinion which registers 68% support for equal marriage.’