Pastor who succeeded Ian Paisley warns against legalising equal marriage in Northern Ireland
A Free Presbyterian minister has warned against legalising equal marriage in Northern Ireland, describing it as a “huge propaganda campaign”.
Rev Ian Brown, who succeeded Dr Ian Paisley at the Martyrs’ Memorial in Belfast, told BBC Radio Ulster: “I know there is significant opposition to it at this moment in time, and I would trust that will be maintained, but I am always aware that we are campaigning against a huge propaganda campaign.”
He added: “Any time I would tune in to BBC Radio Ulster, including Sunday Sequence and the Nolan Show, it is given a prominence that it doesn’t deserve if you are talking about one per cent and not many more of the population. You are talking about a miniscule proportion of the population that this whole campaign is being driven on behalf of.”
In response, Andrew Muir, the openly gay mayor of North Down, said a fresh debate on the issue could bring similar legislation to the Province.
“In order for that to become a reality in Northern Ireland, we need to engage in a widespread discussion across society to get agreement on that,” he said.
“Northern Ireland has changed quite a lot as a society. A majority of the electorate would be in favour of equal marriage, and that is to be welcomed – but for that to become a reality requires legislation from Stormont and to date that hasn’t happened.”
Northern Ireland is the only remaining UK nation where equal marriage has not been legalised.
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The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has twice used a petition of concern to block votes on equal marriage – much to the annoyance of Sinn Fein, the Greens and the Alliance Party, who all support the reform for Northern Ireland.
Under Stormont rules, any party can trigger a petition of concern on a motion that then can only pass if the majority of nationalists and unionists back it together.
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