As we’ve discussed before, Northern Ireland Assembly voted in favour of same-sex marriage in the region, but since then it has been habitually blocked by the DUP who filed a “petition of concern.”
Not only did they block the bill from passing initially, they have been a barricade to it passing since then, despite Amnesty International figures showing that 68% of Northern Irish people being in favour of marriage equality.
Northern Ireland programme director at Amnesty International, Patrick Corrigan, spoke about this to U105.8 FM: “Everybody, whatever way you put the data, is in favour of marriage equality. We still do have our largest political party, the DUP, saying no – and to an extent that’s absolutely fine and fair. However, the problem comes when they use the petition of concern to block the will of the people and block the will of the assembly.”
“We know from our own discussions that we now have at least 58 of the 108 MLAs just newly elected to the assembly, are publicly in favour of changing the law, and we know of a few who are privately in favour but haven’t been able to vote yes to date.”
“We have that majority among the people, a very significant majority of 68%, we now have a clear majority among the assembly as well. It should only be a matter of time, but it boils down to the DUP refraining from using that veto power, the petition of concern. We call upon them to no longer stand in the way of the march of equality in Northern Ireland.”
“We would ask the DUP to reflect on their position and when this next comes to the assembly… vote against it if you must, but allow a free vote and don’t use the petition of concern. Respect the will of the assembly, reflecting the will of the people.”
You can listen to the interview below.