Ruth Davidson calls on Northern Ireland to introduce equal marriage
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called on Northern Ireland to join the rest of the UK and introduce equal marriage.
The Edinburgh Central MSP is due to deliver the Amnesty International Belfast Pride lecture later today (Tuesday, August 2) and will use the platform to encourage Stormont to legalise same-sex marriage.
The openly gay politician, who recently got engaged to her Irish partner, said that equal marriage was about more than religion or politics.
“I’m honoured to have been invited to Belfast to give the Amnesty Pride lecture,” she said.
“As a practicing Christian, a protestant and a unionist who is engaged to a Catholic Irishwoman, for me, equal marriage isn’t about one religion, country or community. It is about people in Northern Ireland being afforded the same rights as everybody else.
“Scotland is a better place today because of equal marriage and I want to take that positive message from our experiences here to Belfast and beyond.”
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Ms Davidson has been a long term supporter of same-sex marriage, campaigning during the referendum in the Republic of Ireland for a ‘yes’ vote and delivering an inspirational speech during Holyrood’s debate on the issue.
The Democratic Unionists (DUP), the largest party in Northern Ireland, are opposed to equal marriage and have continually blocked its introduction through a mechanism known as a Petition of Concern.
Sinn Fein and a number of other parties in the chamber support the change.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, Patrick Corrigan, said: “We’re delighted to have Ruth Davidson in Belfast to deliver a strong message in support of marriage equality. We look forward to Northern Ireland joining Scotland and every other part of these islands in legislating for equal civil marriage.
“Loving, committed couples, whether same-sex or opposite sex, and their families should be equally valued and respected under the law. We know there is overwhelming support among the Northern Ireland public for equal marriage and we hope the Assembly will soon reflect that support through legislation.”