Irish drag artist Panti Bliss calls for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland
Irish drag artist Panti Bliss has added her voice to those calling for Northern Ireland to introduce same-sex marriage.
The Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly last month in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry, with weddings set to be fast-tracked and start later this year.
However, in Northern Ireland equality continues to be blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party – leaving the country lagging behind England, Scotland and Wales, as well as behind the Republic.
Ahead of a protest in the city of Belfast next weekend, drag artist Panti Bliss has called for the country to catch up.
She said: “I’d love to get married in Belfast. So, don’t make me wait too long before you change the law up there!
“The joy that was felt across the country at the referendum result in the South was an unforgettable experience.
“That is a joy that I want people in Northern Ireland to share. You know, it’s a great feeling to re-invent your country as a place where everyone is equal. Everyone should try it.”
“The tide of history is on the side of same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland can’t resist that tide of history.
“It seems clear that most people in Northern Ireland, just like people in the Republic, in England, Scotland and Wales, already support the introduction of same-sex marriage. Now the people are just waiting for their politicians to catch up.
“When those people in Northern Ireland who are still unsure about the idea, see that the introduction of gay marriage didn’t destroy society in Scotland or wherever, then I think they will be much more comfortable with it.
“Especially, when they see that, this is about civil marriage, so it doesn’t threaten any religion or church or how they go about their business.
“I hope thousands come out for the big marriage equality march in Belfast next Saturday. People of every age, gender, religion and sexual orientation voted Yes in the Republic and that’s who I expect to be on the streets of Belfast calling for equality next weekend.
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“Of course, this campaign won’t be won in a day, but next Saturday is an important opportunity for ordinary people in Northern Ireland to stand up and be counted for equality. Try it – it’s fun!”
The march on Saturday 13 will kick off outside the Belfast campus of Ulster University, with Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Rainbow Project coming together for the joint event.
Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director said: “Saturday’s march will be a great family day out with very positive message: everyone in this society should be treated equally.
“We don’t want Northern Ireland to be the only part of the UK or Ireland where the right to civil marriage is denied to same sex couples.
“There is no objective justification for denying access to civil marriage to same sex couples. Allowing lesbian and gay people to get married has no detrimental effect on anyone else’s marriage.
“It’s now up to the Northern Ireland Assembly to correct that inequality.”
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