UKIP Northern Ireland Assembly Member to vote against ‘homosexual and lesbian marriage’

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The UK Independence Party’s sole member of the Northern Ireland Assembly has announced he will vote against same-sex marriage in Tuesday’s debate.

UKIP Regional Leader David McNarry, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Strangford in County Down, said: “Despite what some might pretend, this is not a matter of equality. Civil partnerships already provide homosexual and lesbian couples with the same rights as married heterosexual couples in Northern Ireland.”

The Tyrone Times reports he added: “Proposals to introduce homosexual and lesbian ‘marriage’, represent unacceptable intrusion by the state into matters of personal conscience. In a truly free society, such interference must be strongly resisted. That’s why I will once again be voting against the introduction of legislation to facilitate homosexual and lesbian ‘marriage’.”

The Northern Ireland Assembly will debate equal marriage on Tuesday in a Private Members’ Motion filed by several MLAs.

The motion calls on the “Minister of Finance and Personnel to introduce legislation to guarantee that couples of any sex or gender identity receive equal benefit; and further calls on the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to ensure that all legislation adheres to the Executive’s commitments to protect equality for all.”

Northern Ireland is the only remaining UK nation where same-sex marriage has not been legalised.

The Democratic Unionist Party has repeatedly vetoed debates on equal marriage in the Stormont Assembly.

They have the most MLAs of any party in the Assembly.

Sinn Fein, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), the Alliance Party and the Greens all support equal marriage.

Demonstrations by equal marriage campaigners took place in Northern Ireland last month on the eve of the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales in order to highlight the equality gap in the province.

In March, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said equal marriage meant “opening up a very big can of worms” – whilst refusing to confirm whether he supported the principle of the reform for England and Wales.

His equivocation came after an apparent breakdown in internal communication regarding the party’s position.

PinkNews received answers to a readers’ Q&A confirmed by an official spokesman to have been approved by Nigel Farage which stated UKIP was reviewing all of its policies including its previously stated opposition to same-sex marriage.

One day later after the Q&A was published; Mr Farage released a statement reiterating the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage, claiming the answers to the Q&A were sent in error.