As we’ve discussed at length, same-sex marriage is not yet legalised in Northern Ireland, despite a resounding public vote to bring marriage equality to the country.
This thanks to repeated efforts from the DUP, who have been getting in the way of marriage equality ever since the majority vote by the MLAs took place. Now, 20,000 people have signed a petition to finally legalise gay marriage.
The petition will be brought before the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont today, and will hopefully signal the end of the DUP’s stalling tactics. However, it doesn’t stop at the petition.
There will also be demonstration calling for the introduction of same-sex marriage taking place today, on the steps of Parliament buildings. As for the petition, it was created by the LGBT news group The Gay Say, and protests the use of the petition of concern by the DUP.
The DUP are no stranger to accusations of abusing the petition of concern, as they have utilised this to “veto” the marriage legislation. The petition of concern is designed to encourage cross-community power-sharing.
This is the fifth time that the DUP have blocked marriage equality in Northern Ireland, and it seems that the people are growing tired of their antics. Recent polls have found that support for same-sex marriage is at an all time high, even among those who voted for the DUP.
LGBT rights advocate Peter Tatchell, who was pivotal in organising the petitio, had this to say: “By ignoring the majority will and blocking the right of LGBT couples to marry, the DUP is subverting democracy. The time has come for the DUP to end its four decades of opposition to LGBT equality.”
Will it work? Only time will tell, but it is clear that the DUP will continue to abuse the legal system to get in the way of same-sex marriage as much as they can, so the time has definitely come for some political brute force to come into play.
Hopefully, when we next discuss the issue, it will be with good news.