Marriage equality in Northern Ireland

 

Sir, – Tánaiste Simon Coveney’s meeting in Belfast with the Love Equality coalition, which is campaigning for marriage equality in Northern Ireland, is to be welcomed.

It is wholly unacceptable that, years after the introduction of equal marriage legislation in every other part of the UK and Ireland, same-sex couples north of the Border should continue to face discrimination.

This is despite overwhelming support for marriage equality among the Northern Ireland public, as demonstrated in poll after poll, and the cross-party support of at least 55 of the 90 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

This past week marks the two-year anniversary of the official collapse of institutions at Stormont. Since then, that Assembly has not had the power to legislate. Currently, there is not even a talks process, never mind an agreement for a return of devolved government.

That being the case, the only legislature and the only government able to address this inequality is at Westminster.

The Irish Government should take every opportunity to make representations to their counterparts in London to right this wrong.

If it chooses, the Stormont Assembly can legislate on the matter in its own right when it returns, but meanwhile, LGBT+ couples must not be made to pay the price of political failure. The Irish Government must do all within its power to ensure that love wins. – Yours, etc,

COLM O’GORMAN,

Executive Director,

Amnesty International

Ireland;

Dr GRAINNE HEALY,

Chairwoman,

Marriage Equality

and Co-Director

of Yes Equality;

BRIAN SHEEHAN,

Co-Director of Yes Equality;

SÍONA CAHILL,

President,

Union of Students in Ireland,

LIAM HERRICK,

Executive Director,

Irish Council

for Civil Liberties;

MONINNE GRIFFITH,

Executive Director,

Belong To;

PATRICIA KING,

General Secretary,

Irish Congress

of Trade Unions.