Lyra McKee’s partner demands same-sex marriage for Northern Ireland

Lyra McKee smiling, leaning against a bookshelf

The partner of murdered Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee has made a powerful plea to Theresa May to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Sara Canning made the comments ahead of a march for marriage equality which will take place on Saturday in Belfast.

Canning said that she and her partner Lyra McKee wanted to get married because they “shared a love which meant we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Sara Canning: ‘The love that Lyra McKee and I shared is not equal’

She continued: “But, as things stand, the law in Northern Ireland says that the love that Lyra and I shared is not equal.

“It is unbelievable, and simply unacceptable, that in 2019, this discrimination is allowed to continue in any part of the UK or Ireland.

“With Stormont out of action for almost the last two and a half years, we need the UK government to step in.

“The law in Northern Ireland says that the love that Lyra and I shared is not equal.”

– Sara Canning, partner of Lyra McKee

“That’s what I told Theresa May at Lyra’s funeral and that’s what I will be saying at the march for marriage equality in Belfast. I hope the Prime Minister is listening.

“Couples like Lyra and I should not have to wait a day longer for the law to recognise us as equals.”

Government has ‘shamefully’ ignored marriage equality in Northern Ireland

The march will begin at Belfast’s Writers’ Square at 1pm ahead of a rally at Belfast City Hall at 2.15pm, with Canning as one of the speakers.

Patrick Corrigan, director of Amnesty International Northern Ireland and a member of the Love Equality campaign said Stormont had proven itself incapable of delivering same-sex marriage.

“The UK government likes to champion its record on LGBT rights, but has shamefully ignored cross party calls for progress on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Sara Canning, partner of killed journalist Lyra McKee

Sara Canning, partner of killed journalist Lyra McKee (PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty)

“We are calling on people, who want a different and fairer Northern Ireland than politicians have so far allowed, to join us on the streets of Belfast this Saturday.

“We are making a demand for equal rights for all, a demand which must be heard in the corridors of Stormont and Westminster.”

Lyra McKee was shot dead during riots in Derry last month

Northern Ireland is the only territory of the United Kingdom that has not introduced marriage equality.

The Love Equality campaign is asking the UK government to pass legislation legalising same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in Westminster as Stormont is currently not sitting.

Journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Northern Ireland riots in Derry last month. The New IRA later claimed responsibility, and said they had been aiming at police.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Belfast for her funeral on April 24, which was attended by political and faith leaders from across the island of Ireland, as well as from Westminster.

Since her death, Sara Canning, as well as friends and family of Lyra, have urged the government to introduce same-sex marriage in her memory.