As you all probably know, getting same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has been quite the battle.
The Northern Irish Assembly actually backed marriage equality last year, with a vote of 53 to 51. However, the Democratic Unionist Party threw a spanner in the works by using peace process powers to stop the issue moving forward.
Naturally, the DUP has been accused of abusing petitions of concern, which were intended to encourage cross-community power-sharing, to veto marriage equality legilsation. This is despite it already being law in the UK as well as the Republic of Ireland.
Ahead of next week’s Stormont elections, the DUP pledged in it’s manifesto to “stand by its commitment to family values and marriage.”
However Sinn Féin, the republican party, has promised to keep pushing the issue in it’s own manifesto. They promise to push for “Marriage Equality for all citizens”.
They say that they will “continue to support marriage equality and equality protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens” and they’ll also “work to extend protections in legislation for Transgender and Intersex individuals”, as well as “work with all progressive forces to resist the repeal of the Human Rights Act”.
Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin spoke to the Irish Times, saying: “I do believe the marriage equality debate is one that is going to continue. We don’t want to be part of a backward region, we want to be part of region that is known to stand up for the rights of people who feel that they are being discriminated against. We are absolutely fearless in pursing equality for people who believe they are entitled to their rights.”