New campaign to secure Westminster legislation for same-sex marriage
Carrickfergus couple Jayne Robinson and Laura McKee are asking Theresa May to bring marriage equality to Northern Ireland.
The couple is launching an online petition calling for the UK Prime Minister to lead the way on marriage equality in Northern Ireland, so that they can finally get married after six years together.
Laura and Jayne officially launched the petition with a photocall in front of Belfast City Hall on Thursday 30 November.
The couple are currently prevented from getting wed by the ban on marriage for same-sex couples in the region, the only part of the UK or Ireland without marriage equality legislation.
Jayne says: “I love Laura and I know she loves me. Just like most other couples in a long-term, committed relationship, we want to get married. At the moment our politicians are stopping us.
“With devolution suspended and Westminster increasingly taking the decisions, we want Theresa May to act now to bring Northern Ireland’s marriage laws into line with those in the rest of the UK.
“The Prime Minister has recently said that she supports equal marriage rights for couples in Northern Ireland. Now Laura and I are asking her to prove it. We want to get married and we are asking people to sign our petition to demonstrate the huge support we know exists for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.”
The campaign is being supported by the Love Equality campaign for civil marriage equality in Northern Ireland and LGBT rights organisation All Out. The online petition is available here. 5,000 people have signed the petition in its first 24 hours.
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. An IpsosMORI poll in 2016 showed 70% support for marriage equality among the Northern Ireland public.
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. All Out is an international online movement for LGBT rights.