Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland

You could have knocked me over with a feather boa when, in 2013, it was a Conservative government that introduced the law to legalise same sex marriage. Let’s face it, those dyed-in-the-wool, true-blue Tories aren’t exactly noted for their enlightened social policies or support for civil liberties. The passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Act through Parliament was far from smooth; lots of hysterical talk from barren barons and men in frocks about the end of the world and the divine sanctity of wedlock. But the legislation was passed, God didn’t lift a finger and the lights stayed on. Hallelujah.

Marriage is a devolved affair in the UK so the 2013 Act only applied to England and Wales. It didn’t take long for the winds of change to blow through these damp little islands. The Scottish Parliament legalised same sex marriage in 2014 followed by the Isle of Man this year. The Channel Islands will bring up the rear in 2017. So who’s letting the side down? Those hell and damnation Presbyterians in Northern Ireland, that’s who. Last November the Northern Ireland Assembly voted narrowly in favour of marriage equality but the Democratic Unionist Party vetoed the motion by using something called a ‘petition of concern’, a mechanism established by the Northern Irish peace settlement to protect the rights of minorities. Ironic, don’t you think? A shameful abuse of power, I call it.

NI Marriage Equality Poll

Those dour old dinosaurs really need to step out of their orange lodges and into the light. Public opinion in Northern Ireland is firmly behind reform and who would have thought only a few years ago the people of the Irish Republic would have voted so convincingly for marriage equality? But then, they are no longer held in the medieval grip of the Catholic Church, thank the Lord.

Liam and I formed a Civil Partnership in 2008 and then converted to marriage as soon as we legally could. My mother is Northern Irish and proudly so. I have family connections across the province. We now have the ludicrous situation where our marriage is, or soon will be, legally recognised throughout these islands except for one small corner, all because of a band of crusty old bigots in orange sashes on the wrong side of history. As if the people of Ulster haven’t suffered enough.

Change will eventually come. The writing’s on the wall. I invite you to help it along by signing the latest petition here.


15 thoughts on “Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland

  1. So very ironic that rejection of marriage was done to somehow protect the minority. The minority who are opposed, I guess.
    I was witness to history in Arizona when, before it was legal across the country, the little town of Bisbee made civil unions legal. I was there for the council vote, and a few weeks later was there to celebrate the civil union of two men friends. In the state capital, I think they tried to figure out how to cut this tiny bastion of progressiveness out of the state. They went absolutely crazy.
    A year or so later, Bisbee created a ban on plastic bags. The state reacted by making it illegal for a municipality to ban them! Ah, Arizona. If it were not for Bisbee (who has refused to lift the ban) I would have to flee.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know why I’m always surprised by how crafty ignorant people can be. It makes my head explode. Take it as a small consolation that you’re not American, or worse yet, an American southerner. I can’t even imagine how awful it would be to be an LGBT person living there right now.


    1. I’ve been to the States many times and always had a great time but then I avoided those parts where I wouldn’t feel welcome. There are stupid people everywhere, I guess. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, wonder what their ‘concern’ is. And agree with Alan above – not rocket science is it to have everyone living equally. Just some powers that be out there who will never want that. Shall add my name to the petition. 🙂


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