Sara Canning, the partner of killed journalist Lyra McKee, has revealed she made a personal plea to Prime Minister Theresa May for help bringing equal marriage to Northern Ireland.
Friends of Lyra, who was killed in Derry on April 18, plan to march in her memory at an equal marriage rally in Belfast next Saturday (May 18).
Lyra’s partner Sara Canning will address the crowd in front of Belfast City Hall at the event, organised by the Love Equality campaign.
Northern Ireland has not had a devolved government since January 2017 due to the collapse of power-sharing, but May’s government has resisted calls for the UK government to intervene directly to secure equal marriage rights.
Lyra McKee partner Sara Canning: I told Theresa May to bring us equal marriage
Speaking ahead of the event, Canning revealed that she had made a personal plea to Prime Minister Theresa May at her partner’s funeral.
Canning said: “Marriage equality is a cause to which Lyra and I were very committed.
“Lyra and I were supposed to be on a big trip to New York this week. We were going to get engaged.
“We talked about getting married in Donegal, but really we wanted our love and our marriage to be recognised in Northern Ireland, just the same as the rest of our family members and friends.
“But to date, politicians have stopped that happening here, despite the fact that most people support equal marriage.”
She added: “If the politicians won’t legislate for equal marriage at Stormont, then the Prime Minister should do it at Westminster. That’s what I told Theresa May at Lyra’s funeral.
“I wanted her to know that Lyra and I had a right to be treated as equal citizens in our own country. Surely that’s not too much to ask?
“Myself and lots of Lyra’s friends and family are going to be marching for marriage equality. We hope people will come and join us.”
LGBT+ campaigners: Respect the will of the people
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International and a member of Love Equality, said: “It is time for political leaders in Belfast and London to respect the will of the people of Northern Ireland, which is overwhelmingly in support of marriage equality.
“This march will be a demonstration of that support, a demand which must be heard in the corridors of Stormont and Westminster.
“Marriage equality in Northern Ireland is a litmus test for whether or not any future devolved government is committed to treating all citizens equally.
“If Stormont is incapable of delivering equality for people here, then it is the responsibility of the Westminster to end discrimination against the LGBT community.”