Green MLA stands up for marriage equality

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA today, Monday, 02 November 2015, stood up for the LGBTQ community and voted in favour of  civil marriage equality.

Speaking after the debate, Steven Agnew MLA said,

“There was a historic vote in the Assembly today when, for the first time, a majority of MLAs – 50.5% – voted in favour of marriage equality.”

“This is a very encouraging development, and I welcome the progress made by those Alliance and SDLP MLAs whose abstentions caused previous motions to fall.”

“On one hand I was pleased to vote once again in support of equality for the LGBTQ community today – constituents who I represent fully and unconditionally.

“On the other, I am disappointed that the DUP once again abused the petition of concern for the fifth time on this matter.

“I am not surprised. The DUP has used the petition of concern over 80 times in this mandate alone, from protecting their own Ministers from censure, to blocking progressive measures or preventing measures to mitigate welfare changes.

“Petitions of concern were designed to protect minorities and, once again, it has been used to block progress for a much maligned and disenfranchised community.

“Let me be clear to the detractors out there. Civil partnerships do not give the same rights and responsibilities as marriage and marriage equality does not impact on religious freedom.

“This campaign has been about civil marriage and how the state recognises marriage. It cannot be any more clearly articulated that faith groups will continue to observe, conduct and administer marriage as they see fit, as they currently do.

“I believe that relationships are of equal value and deserve equal recognition under the law.

“The Green Party will continue in its commitment to equality.

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