Green Party rep Mal O’Hara welcomes equal marriage bills

Monday March 26 2018

Green Party rep Mal O’Hara has described suggestions that equal marriage for Northern Ireland could be delivered through Westminster as “bittersweet”.

His comments follow reports that a Bill to provide for marriage equality for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland will be introduced in the House of Lords tomorrow.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Bill will be introduced by Conservative peer Lord Hayward on Tuesday afternoon. The following day, Labour MP Conor McGinn will introduce his identical Bill in the House of Commons.

The North Belfast rep said the majority of MLAs at Stormont have already voted in favour of equal marriage and that is where it should have been delivered.

“The Green Party brought the first equal marriage motion to the NI Assembly in 2012. By the last Assembly, we had progressed to the point where a majority of MLAs voted in favour of legally recognising same-sex marriage, yet the motion was blocked by a Petition of Concern exercised by the DUP,” he said.

“The majority of MLAs now support marriage equality and the Ipsos Mori poll of 2015 found that 68% of the people support it too.

“This legislation is long awaited and a very welcome step forward, but it doesn’t change the fact that this should have been delivered by our own Assembly.

“The Executive parties have never passed any legislation to progress sexual orientation or gender identity equality and LGBTQ campaigners are left in a position where they have been abandoned by those who have a duty to legislate for them.

“Relying on Westminster to once again progress LGBTQ legislation is a return to the status quo,” the Green Party rep said.

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