Sinn Fein vows to continue fighting for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland
Sinn Fein has reiterated its pledge to campaign for same-sex marriage in Norther Ireland.
Members Gerry Kelly, Caral Ni Chuilin and Megan Fearon said there was an increasing demand for marriage equality.
The members signed a pledge to legislate to pass same-sex marriage, as well as actively campaign to have it legalised.
The party has in the past attempted to legislate for equal marriage on several occasions in the Stormont assembly.
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But the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has continually blocked attempts to bring equality under the law.
Fearon, an Assembly candidate for Newry and Armagh said she has friends in the Republic of Ireland who can “marry the person they love”, but over the border in Northern Ireland they cannot.
“We are publishing our pledge to actively work to legislate marriage equality. We believe there’s a growing demand for marriage equality.
“We made history in 2015 when the south [of Ireland] legislated for marriage equality. I live right on the border. A few miles over it I have friends in Dundalk who can marry the person they love but not in Newry, likewise in London, but not in Belfast,” said Fearon.
She continued: “So we are pledging to actively work for equality as we have always done and we want to see all parties sign up to this pledge and all parties who say they are progressive to state clearly what they will do for the LGBT community.”
Northern Ireland is the last remaining place in the UK where same-sex marriage continues to be blocked, as the governing Democratic Unionist Party employs Petitions of Concern – a power designed to ensure cross-community power sharing – to veto marriage bills despite a Parliamentary majority in favour.
The DUP ran on a platform of ‘defending marriage’ in Assembly elections earlier in 2016, and First Minister Arlene Foster recently reaffirmed plans to continue employing powers to block any future marriage legislation, continuing a stalemate on the issue.
Foster recently defended her actions by insisting gay people don’t really want to get married anyway.