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Belfast set to get its first gay Deputy Lord Mayor

Joe Williams April 15, 2016
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MPs vote equal marriage northern Ireland

Thousands of people take part in a march and rally calling for legislation for same-sex marriage on June 13, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty)

Mary Ellen Campbell is set to become Belfast’s first ever openly gay Deputy Lord Mayor.

Sinn Féin Councillor, Mary Ellen Campbell, has been nominated by her party to take up the second most senior civic role in Belfast.

The party has refused to confirm Ms Campbell’s nomination, however, a source close to Sinn Féin said that the announcement could be made as early as this evening, according to Belfast Media Group.

Ms Campbell is expected to announce her plans to take up the position during an LGBT six county hustings event being held in the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts.

The 47-year-old has been an active republican from a young age and is an ex-political prisoner.

Ms Campbell has fronted many of the party’s campaigns on gender equality, LGBT issues and suicide prevention since she was co-opted on to the Council in 2010.

Despite the introduction of same-sex marriage in England, Scotland and Wales, the DUP government in Northern Ireland continues to block all legislation on the issue.

Earlier this month, the DUP promised to keep blocking equal marriage in their 2016 Assembly manifesto.

The Northern Irish Assembly backed equal marriage by a vote of 53 to 51 last year – but the DUP used peace process powers to override the democratic process and block equality for a fifth time.

The party has been accused of “abusing” petitions of concern, which were introduced to encourage power-sharing and cross-community support, to ‘veto’ marriage legislation despite clear majority support.

The Ipsos MORI survey found 68% of people in the country now support same-sex marriage – even higher than the 62.1% who voted Yes in the Republic of Ireland.

Support is much higher among young people, with 82% of 16 to 34-year-olds and 75% of 35 to 54-year-olds supporting same-sex marriage.

Even among DUP supporters, 45% of people disagree with their own party’s stance on the issue.

Related topics: Belfast, DUP, Gay, LGBT, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, same sex marriage

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