UK government must end denial of rights in Northern Ireland – “There can be no second-class citizens in the UK. It is now up to Theresa May and the UK Government to deliver on the promise of equality.” – Patrick Corrigan

March for equal marriage will be led by Belfast Lord Mayor.

Rally speakers to include Conor McGinn MP and Irish referendum Yes campaign leader Ailbhe Smyth.

Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of Belfast this weekend to call on Theresa May to legislate for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

The march – organised by the Love Equality campaign – will take place across central Belfast and will be led by the City’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuala McAllister. It will end with a mass-rally in front of City Hall, hosted by Belfast actor Bronagh Waugh.

The protest comes amidst intensifying calls on Theresa May to reform Northern Ireland’s restrictive laws on same-sex marriage and access to abortion, and will put further pressure on the Prime Minister to commit to human rights obligations in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where equal marriage is outlawed.

Patrick Corrigan of the Love Equality campaign, said:

“It’s nonsensical that the government is denying the people of Northern Ireland the same rights as everyone else in the UK. Human rights should not rely on postcodes.

“There can be no second-class citizens in the UK. It is now up to Theresa May and the UK Government to deliver on the promise of equality.

“Saturday’s march will show that Northern Ireland will not be silent until we have equality.”

Speakers at the rally:

  • Conor McGinn MP, whose private members’ bill to bring marriage equality to Northern Ireland was stymied last month when a Conservative MP objected to its second reading in Parliament.
  • Ailbhe Smyth, a leader in both the successful Marriage Equality campaign and the recent Repeal the 8th campaign in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.
  • John O’Doherty, a leader of the Love Equality campaign.
  • Paula Keenan and Pauline Dempsey, a same-sex couple currently denied the right to marry in Northern Ireland. One is from Northern Ireland, the other from the Republic, where they could get married, though their marriage would not be recognised when they return home to Northern Ireland.
  • Anthony Flynn and Cory Quinn, a same-sex couple currently denied the right to marry in Northern Ireland.
  • Shea Love and Brooklyn Burridge, two teenagers from the Cara-Friend LGBT+ youth group in Belfast.
  • Marcus Hunter-Neill, broadcaster / drag entertainer

The Love Equality campaign for equal civil marriage in Northern Ireland is led by the Rainbow Project, Amnesty International, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, NUS-USI and HereNI.

 

Love Equality rally details:

When: Saturday 2 June, 2:30pm

Where:

  • The march for marriage equality meets at Writers’ Square before setting off for a rally at Belfast City Hall
  • A rally for marriage equality will be staged in Guildhall Square, Derry/Londonderry at the same time.

Spokespeople and couples available for interview.

ENDS

Background:

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 designed to protect the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland.

An April 2018 Sky News poll showed 76% support for marriage equality amongst the Northern Ireland public.

At least 55 out of 90 MLAs in the Assembly have publicly voiced their support for marriage equality legislation.