Protests to be held in Northern Ireland calling for same-sex marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Protests will be held in Belfast – calling on Northern Ireland to follow the Republic in introducing same-sex marriage.

The Republic of Ireland overwhelmingly voted to introduce same-sex marriage in a referendum last week, with 62.1% voting in favour.

However, in Northern Ireland the DUP government continues to block progress on the issue, filing a ‘petition of concern’ to block plans for a fourth time last month.

LGBT activists in Northern Ireland plan to take to the streets next month, to point out the country is now the odd one out on the issue – with mainland Britain and the Republic of Ireland both embracing equality.

A number of equality groups are joining together to hold a March for Civil Marriage Equality in Belfast next month on Saturday June 13, to call the Northern Irish government to action.

The demonstration is jointly organised by Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Rainbow Project – with over 2000 people listed as attending on Facebook so far.

Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said: “Northern Ireland is now the last bastion of discrimination against gay people in these islands.
“People in Northern Ireland are sick of living in a discriminatory backwater for gay people.

“Most people here want to live in a country where such discrimination is consigned to the dustbin of history.

“They want to live in a place where all citizens are guaranteed equal rights and equal opportunities – that’s the message of the march for equality.”

A second informal protest is set to go ahead in Belfast on Saturday (May 30), which is independently organised.

Section 75 of the Good Friday Agreement directs that public authorities should carry out their functions without discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

This has been at the crux of a number of court challenges on the issue for some time, with campaigners arguing it obliges Northern Ireland to treat all couples equally on marriage.