The Fermanagh-born head of Australia’s marriage equality campaign has called for equal marriage in Northern Ireland following the historic Yes vote in Australia’s postal ballot.
Tiernan Brady, Director of Australians for Equality which runs the Equality Campaign for marriage equality in Australia, said:
“Today is a joyful day. It is a day when the Australian people have said to their LGBTI family members, friends and neighbours that we are all one, and our laws must reflect that.
“But amidst the joy, I still feel a pang of sadness when I think of where I was born and raised in Fermanagh – and how LGBTI people there are still denied their equality.
“Just like Australia, the people of Northern Ireland share the same commitment to fairness and equality and that is reflected in every poll taken on the issue. Just like Australia, it has been the world of politics that is blocking the clear will of the people to treat LGBTI people equally.
“It is time our laws at home caught up with the values of our people. Everyone on our islands should have the right to the same aspirations and dignity as the rest of their family members and communities.
“I hope the joy of Australia will inspire and give hope to those who continue to work to make equality a reality.”
Patrick Corrigan, of the Love Equality campaign for civil marriage equality in Northern Ireland, said:
“Australia is just the latest country to say Yes to marriage equality. We are delighted for all those couples who will be able to marry as soon as politicians follow through with legislation. We send our congratulations to campaigners in Australia, who have pursued an energetic and relentlessly positive campaign.
“Now, we want Northern Ireland to be next. As we move from devolved government to direct rule, we call on the Westminster government to introduce legislation as soon as possible to reflect the will of the people and of the Assembly, where there are clear majorities in favour of marriage equality.”
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland which still bans marriage for same-sex couples, despite majority support among the public and in the Northern Ireland Assembly. In November 2015 a majority of MLAs in the Assembly voted to support equal marriage, but the measure was blocked by the DUP using a Petition of Concern, a voting mechanism originally designed to protect the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland.
On Monday, James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, introduced a Budget Bill for Northern Ireland in Parliament, widely regarded to be the first step in the replacement of devolved government with direct rule from Westminster.
Love Equality is the campaign for civil marriage equality in Northern Ireland and is a coalition comprising the Rainbow Project, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Amnesty International, NUS-USI (National Union of Students), Here NI and Cara Friend.