I admire your optimism but I wouldn’t put money on the majority in NI giving support. Ulster has some of the most philosophical and kind-hearted people I have met anywhere in the world but it is also a crucible of ignorance and bigotry. The corrupt, redneck monsters of the DUP will fight tooth and nail against any GLBT rights. When they are so bloody mad keen to be British, why would they resist this new legislation Her Majesty’s Government will bring in on the “mainland”?
Thank you for the comment and I appreciate the feedback – I’m already working on a follow up piece to include some things I’ve forgotten to assert in this article.
My optimism is based on my dealings with every day people in Northern Ireland from a wide variety of backgrounds. I hope to help create a challenge to the typical political stalwarts and views with the shift in directional discourse that my articles may hopefully contribute towards.
We shouldn’t dismiss those on opposing sides of the argument, but I also think that we can go past the usual groups here and look for those in the middle ground – after all in the next assembly election when this is an issue brought up it is the moderate middle and voters who can be persuaded by decent arguments and discourse that need to be reached out to most.
I also advocate for the LGBT community to help develop a way to shift social constructs in Northern Ireland which is a mammoth task yet still achievable – It’s just long term.
Good luck, Gary. I’m originally from Belfast and would love to see you have success with this.
The demographics of Northern Ireland are such that it is very likely the Unionist majority at Stormont is going to be eaten away entirely by the 2019 election results, with the SDLP and UUP being entirely amalgamated in to Sinn Fein and the DUP, with Alliance as the third party.
Whilst this kind of timetable is very long, at least it gives optimism that the strongest opponents of this reform are on the slide generationally.
My hope would be that Alliance will grow and do a better job at backing up their equality agenda with action. I’m no huge fan of SF’s history, but in the context of this topic I am rooting for them all the way.
….every political party will have history; some more unsavoury than others. Nelson Mandela was once considered a terrorist by most, but ended up being feted by all governments later. One can name just about any eminent statesman who at one time or another was considered a terrorist by British or American governments but eventually were accepted and most have wined and dined with the Royal family. Even the vile Bob Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Idi Amin of Uganda, Yasser Arafat, Ghadafi of Libya, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and on and on all have been feted by democracies even tho they were considered “terrorists” at one time or another. If you think Northern Ireland would have the relative peace and equal rights it has today without the IRA campaign then you know nothing of British Irish politics. One presumes you have the same reticence about the British Army and Thatchers regime for which the British PM recently had to go on telly and do a grovelling apology……
I’ve studied nearly every region of the world in the context of colonialism and postcolonialism for 10 years at university. I’ve visited the Kashmir frontline and the Gaza Strip. I am an atheist gay who lives in Scotland.
When oh when can I, or anyone else, comment on an online Northern Ireland article without having to provide a disclaimer that we’re not some massively biased/compromised individual?
Can I not insinuate that I have no love for a party that has a very murderous past, in much the same way that I would never vote Labour because of the carnage they inflicted on Iraqis, just because you will think I utterly love Britain?
I work the SNP mate. Wind your neck in.
Perhaps if catholics start to outnumber protestants in NI, their attitude might change which would guarantee the union with the republic and where there is support for equal marriage. They’d better be careful what they don’t wish for and start paying attention to what’s going on in England and Wales if they want to remain a part of the UK.
Well, it’s going that way fast. And there will be blood.
BTW, I’m not baying for blood. I’m dreading it.
Interesting that yet again the North of Ireland’s second largest party and soon to be largest, Sinn Fein fails to get a mention. Despite the fact that Sinn Fein is the only major party that fully supports marriage equality. The DUP, UUP, SDLP and Mr. Spedding’s own party, Alliance are either bitterly divided over equality or oppose it.
I didn’t see him mention the SDLP or the UUP in this post either… perhaps it’s because they weren’t mentioned in the Belfast Telegraph article that Gary is responding to and it could also be because the UUP don’t have any MPs and Sinn Fein’s refuse to take their seats thus can’t represent anyone effectively.
Sinn Fein jumping on the bandwagon of marriage equality whilst they have been very quiet on the blood ban just shows how much they really care about equality not to mention the numerous other things I could bring up.
Oh James you really are stupid.
I agree with Simon. Sinn Fein have made a massive leap to embrace equality. It comes from the experience of being a persecuted minority. Let’s give credit where it’s due.
Sinn Fein have since their inception, been supporter of Gay Rights and have not “just jumped on the bandwagon” As far back as 2009 I have posted a link to their website where they clearly and equivocally espoused Gay Rights….. well before the world wide gay rights and Marriage Equality campaign got going….