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Belfast City Council to include three openly gay politicians

Joseph McCormick May 26, 2014
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Three openly gay politicians will take seats on the new Belfast City Council, including the man who brought a case to decriminalise homosexuality in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

A celebratory tweet sent by Sinn Fein Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell following her election to the new super council.

She said: “Aren’t the electorate amazing… Imagine no longer [being] the only gay in the village.”

She will be joined by Julie Anne Corr of the Progressive Unionist Party and Jeff Dudgeon of the Ulster Unionists.

Dudgeon, who led efforts to decriminalise homosexuality in Northern Ireland, is a well known gay activist.

Jeff Dudgeon, a shipping clerk and gay rights activist in Belfast, successfully challenged the criminalisation of sexual relations between men at the European Court of Human Rights, having first complained to the European Commission of Human Rights in 1975.

He forced the UK government to make Northern Ireland bring its laws into line with the rest of England, Wales and Scotland in 1982.

Dudgeon was honoured with an MBE in 2012 for services to the LGBT community in Northern Ireland.

Corr said: “Whilst I am open about my sexuality, I will not let it define me or allow anyone to fit me into a neat category,” she said.

Both the Progressive Unionist Party and Sinn Fein support same-sex marriage, while the Ulster Unionists allow a free vote on the issue.

Related topics: Jeff Dudgeon, Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein, ulster unionists

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