Same-sex wedding held on Stormont steps for equal marriage in Northern Ireland
A same-sex wedding has been staged on the steps of Stormont by campaigners pushing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
The mock marriage was hosted by a number of campaign groups and saw Neal Rush and Mark McLoughlin, a real couple, get ‘married’.
Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal.
The demonstration was hailed by Sinn Fein MLA Eilisha McCallion, who said that it showed a “growing demand” for equal marriage.
She said: “It is two years after the historic marriage equality referendum in the south but LGBT citizens in the north are still being denied the opportunity to marry the person they love.
“Today’s demonstration shows once again that there is a growing demand across society to see marriage equality extended across the island.
“There can be no place in our society for homophobia, misogyny or discrimination of any form.
“Sinn Fein will continue to fight for marriage equality and for equal rights for all citizens across the north.”
Assembly elections were held in Northern Ireland after the collapse of the previous government, with Democratic Unionist Party losing ground after a corruption scandal.
Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK without same-sex marriage because the ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party has employed peace process powers known as ‘petitions of concern’ to block all progress numerous times.
Gerry Adams previously named equal marriage a “key issue” in the talks to form a new power-sharing government.
Mr Adams said: “The DUP’s approach thus far has been to engage in a minimalist way on all of the key issues, including legacy issues – an Irish-language act, a bill of rights and marriage equality.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster has also reaffirmed plans to continue employing powers to block any future marriage legislation. She recently insisted gay people don’t really want to get married anyway.
She said: “This suggestion that every single person who’s a homosexual wants to change the definition of marriage is actually wrong.
“I know plenty of people in that community who don’t want to see marriage redefined and are quite content to live in partnership… it’s all become a bit of a storm in a teacup.”
Last year Mr Wells said he would launch legal action against journalists who reported allegations he is homophobic.
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The former Health Minister has branded Pride parades ‘repugnant’, refused to take part in LGBT rights debates, and as a minister ignored scientific advice to keep a blanket ‘gay blood’ ban in place.
He resigned in 2015 after outrage over alleged anti-gay comments during a hustings in South Downs.
A tape of the hustings appeared to reveal that Mr Wells said: “All evidence throughout the world says the best way to raise children is in a loving, stable, married relationship; the facts show that, the facts show that certainly you don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship.
“I say again, I say again, a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected in a non-stable marriage situation, gay or straight.”
Mr Wells, who insisted his remarks were “doctored”, claimed that he had been “vindicated” after a woman who pursued a police complaint against him admitted wasting police time.
In response, Mr Wells threatened to launch legal action against the news outlets that have reported his anti-LGBT comments.