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Comment: Northern Ireland could face legal action if our politicians don’t support equal marriage soon

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 20 Jul 2013, 12:17am

    Gary, if the referendum south of the NI border proves successful and Scotland passes Equal Marriage in 2014, then I think you’ll see some movement. There will be no way out but to support it and I wouldn’t mind betting there will be pressure from Westminster in some way or other even though you have a devolved Assembly.

    1. ChrisMorley 22 Jul 2013, 8:06pm

      Marriage Equality in the Irish Republic and Scotland won’t persuade the majority of the Democratic Unionist party to do a complete U-turn and abandon their adamant opposition. They made their views absolutely plain when they used a procedure at Stormont which puts a veto on marriage equality. They publicly said that what the Republic does will have no effect on the law in NI.

      Nor are they likely to respond to any pressure from Westminster. What can Westminster realistically do to persuade Unionists to abandon their bigoted principles? It is a devolved matter for Stormont alone to decide.

      The political logic of Kensington, Westminster, Edinburgh and Dublin simply doesn’t apply in Stormont.

      Couples in NI will have to take a discrimination case to the European Court of Human Rights to bring marriage equality to NI.

  2. I agree that the chance of this ruling party
    enacting marriage equality is zero.

    Only a lawsuit can bring marriage equality
    to Northern Ireland, even if 80% of the population would support it.

  3. Considering you’re not actually from NI Gary, maybe don’t call it a ‘feral outpost’ and expect local people to take you seriously.

    1. Honest Reader 20 Jul 2013, 9:59am

      Perhaps, read his sentence properly to notice that he describes it only as a feral outpost in relation to discrimination against LGBT people and is making a political statement NOT passing comment on the entire population of Northern Ireland as Feral.

      You clearly know the author or about him at least which raises a question of why you can’t have asked him this question directly for clarification as opposed to publicly attacking him for not being from Northern Ireland.

      Does where a person comes from now dictate whether their views are appropriate or accurate? #Racism.

      1. An English person calling part of Ireland a ‘feral outpost?’ That’s called #imperialism

        1. That There Other David 20 Jul 2013, 11:29am

          However, in this case the label most certainly fits. The North needs to grow up and start acting like it’s run by and for adults, not screaming little Bible bashing children intent on maintaining old hatreds.

          The pictures of the riots this week say all you need to know about political discourse in NI. It’s pathetic, it’s a sad reflection on your society, and it’s about time you gave yourselves a damn good shake and did something about it.

        2. I personally would call it #truth

        3. Paula Thomas 21 Jul 2013, 6:11am

          The has been a referendum in Northern Ireland as to whether it wants to remain part of the UK. Am I alone in thinkinng it might be time to hold a referendum in the rest of the UK to see if we want this ferel and expensive outpost to remain in.

  4. disappointed reader 20 Jul 2013, 1:28pm

    Unfortunately this article doesn’t inspire me with confidence at all. My question is, where has the support been for the last 20 odd years coming from England? “Campaigners will be particularly excited to discover that Benjamin Cohen has announced that Out4Marriage will pick up the fight in Northern Ireland…” I find a tad patronising. Why have they not been here yet?! Why were NI people not included from the start? It also reads like we’re all just sitting on our hands here waiting for the cavalry to arrive 20 years too late to come and save us. Stirling work has been going on here for a long time for LGBT people but the article fails to mention it.

  5. I concur with much of what disappointed reader has said above. It’s a bit don’t worry we will save you. Lgbt activists and allies have been long time fighting on the issues in Northern Ireland with limited support from other parts of the uk.
    Additionally, the author fails to mentions any of the lgbt sector organisation and the work they and many individuals and others, had already been doing on this issue, only mentions the equal marriage campaign (which recently won a belfast pride award) briefly in that he founded it rather than when it formalised and elected officers.
    Additionally, Sinn Fein and the Green Party had policies in place before the equal marriage campaign was founded, a testament to activists within and without the parties, with alliance and SDLP forming policy due to lobbying and pressure rather than because of Gary founding the campaign on 5th of July.
    Belfast city council had already voted in favour of a Sinn Fein motion earlier that week.
    Vanity much?

    1. Gay Unionist 20 Jul 2013, 2:51pm

      2/3 “the article fails to mention it.” – the article, to me, appears to be a comment piece by someone who is actively involved in campaigning for LGBT rights (Marriage Equality in particular) in Northern Ireland. Someone who lives there and has experience there even if he isn’t originally from that area. I also assume pinknews has word counts to ensure articles don’t go on for thousands upon thousands of words. So if the author by chance didn’t mention any LGBT work in other areas because its focus is on Equal Marriage then so be it.

      “Lgbt activists and allies have been long time fighting on the issues in Northern Ireland with limited support from other parts of the uk.” – Nobody can dispute this fact.

      I’ve spent a little while looking at the Equal Marriage Northern Ireland campaign and the sector organisations that have taken control of it (yeah controversy there alright). The campaign seems to have flopped and isn’t being ran as a dedicated stand-alone campaign..

    2. I know who you are 20 Jul 2013, 3:13pm

      Over 50 people attended the first meeting. Surely they are all founders?

  6. A lot to selectively say by gay unionist. Seems someone hasa grudge against some lgbt organisations.
    Malcontents, egotists, and misogynists, and attacks the rainbow project, then additional claims’to be in the know’ about mr speeding being hounded out. There were public elections in August 2012 in the black box in belfast. Gary choose not to stand. I understand the agreement was annual elections.
    Maybe mr speeding and gay unionist could stand themselves and see whether the wider campaign for equal marriage deem them fit to be elected? Or is it easy to be a prolific social media warrior.
    The campaign for equal marriage was well under way before the initial meeting in jul last year. The greens had already tried to bring it to Stormount in the spring. Do you think that dropped out the sky?
    It’s great out for marriage and pink news will continue the fight in Scotland and the north, I think it’s just people perceive that lgbt support from England has historically been lacking.

  7. Am sitting chuckling to myself. We can’t even agree over a non sectarian issue what help is there for progress with anything else. We need to work together and take support from whoever is offering on this issue. The DUP needs to know they have a fight on their hands.

  8. It is so funny that there is even a sectarian based argument on this thread.

    NI is such a ridiculous place.

  9. Look i live in ni and tbh the situation seems hopeless. I mean i dont believe minorities wil ever have any recognition in northern ireland. Theres catholics and prodestents. Theres schools for them, areas for them, projects for them etc. Everyone else dosent matter here. Im just packing my bags and leaving the backwater. I can sympathise with the fight for equality there, it just seems like a waste of time when every tiny piece of legisation requires monumental effort when it was so relitivly easy amd already achieved next door in the rest ofthe uk and soon ireland.

  10. Mark Cross 21 Jul 2013, 7:27pm

    I’m an obnoxious, ignorant, arrogant American, but from this outsider’s point of view the government (not to be confused with the people) of NI acts a lot like the officials in states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. Civil rights progress only comes with lawsuits there, not with legislation. The ship of progress is leaving port, and those officials always behave like housecats avoiding the cat carrier for a routine appt with the vet.

  11. Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 22 Jul 2013, 4:19am

    Australia and Northern Ireland are much the same in banning gay marriage and yes have feral, bigoted, stupid and outdated politicians on all sides – and yes in both of these places most people (about 60% of people actually support marriage equality!!!!)

    Both Scotland and Luxembourg in Europe will pass marriage equality sometime late this year in autumn and will be much more easier, because there is a unicameral legislature (one house of parliament – instead of two houses of parliament)!!!!

    It is actually possible that a Queens “Order-In-Council” could possibly allow gay marriage in both Australia and Northern Ireland?????????

    I am hoping very much so!!!!!!!

  12. ChrisMorley 22 Jul 2013, 5:21pm

    People who want Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland need an effective strategy.
    The reality is that the DUP has used the “petition of concern” procedure at Stormont to veto Equal Marriage. So NI residents will have to campaign very hard to persuade at least half of the DUP MLAs not to use this procedure again and instead to vote for introducing a Bill for Equal Marriage.
    I do not think this is realistically achievable in the foreseeable future.

    Westminster can’t legislate and impose Equal Marriage in NI without first reimposing Direct Rule from Westminster. That is fundamentally anti-democratic and would put the political stability of NI at enormous risk.

    The most effective strategy seems to be to take one or more legal cases for discrimination to the European Court of Human Rights.
    The Equal Love Campaign already has a similar case brought by couples in England waiting to be heard:

    Couples in NI need to start their own case now.

  13. ChrisMorley 22 Jul 2013, 5:48pm

    Campaigners in NI should consider asking the Equal Love Campaign for support and guidance and see if a NI application to the Human Rights Court can be joined to the current English legal case for consideration by the Court at the same time.

    When Same Sex Marriages in England and Wales and in Scotland become possible, married LGBT couples from those parts of the UK could then make discrimination claims to the European Court of Human Rights that their marriages are not recognised as marriages in NI, but heterosexual couples’ marriages are recognised.

    Legal action at the European Court will take time but is the best hope we have for achieving Equal Marriage in NI.

    We need to be realistic about the unusual political realities in NI and what is achievable. People in NI need to take the lead themselves and seek expert legal advice and support. Campaign groups in Scotland, England and Wales can assist but need to be asked and invited. It would be insulting and rude to step on NI toes.

    1. Craig Nelson 23 Jul 2013, 9:26pm

      Overturning the marriage ban in Northern Ireland will take a lot more work than in the rest of the UK. Even if finally achoeved by the means of a legal case there still needs to be political and community engagement. But yes, as things stand the DUP remains a road block.

      Still a successful campaig in the Republic as well as in Scotland would help to change things around. A legal challenge has already been spoken of (Amnesty I think). It is not without its merits. My first thoughts are that it would need to be heard in the Belfast High Court, which would have the power to strike down secondary legislation (such as that passed preventing same sex couples from marrying). My guess is from there to the UK Supreme Court. It might end up in the ECHR (though I think they would be very wary of ruling in this way). I think little would be lost from a legal challenge. There’s a lot to think about with a legal challenge – it has to be well thought out and well funded to succeed.

  14. I’m from NI myself and don’t think the DUP will ever change their agenda. All politicians here are only in it for the money and power. The politics in NI will destroy this “country” anyways. People need to wise up over here cause you’re only on this earth once. Not a bit of wonder many young people have already moved to England or further afield. At least over there everyones equal in the law. I for one will be moving very soon.

  15. Equality Network 24 Jul 2013, 7:24am

    In noting the discrimination that will continue until NI legislates for marriage equality, let’s not forget the situation of trans people who married in NI. Under the marriage bills from Westminster and Holyrood, trans people who are married will be able to get gender recognition without divorce, so long as they married anywhere in the world except NI. Uniquely, trans people who married in NI will still have to divorce to get gender recognition.

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