Belfast Telegraph

End the ‘stitch-up’ over legislation on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, urges MP

By Mark Bain

Westminster has a moral obligation to legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, a Scottish Labour MP said last night.

Ged Killen, who is married to a man from here, called again for the Prime Minister to take action in an address at Queen's University in Belfast.

And he said that MPs, peers and people across the UK would keep up the pressure on the Government to make sure that the right was extended to Northern Ireland.

He told the audience that opponents of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland "would lose a vote in a referendum, they would lose a vote in the Assembly and they would lose a vote in Parliament".

The MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who was elected last year after serving as a councillor, said: "Instead of facing a vote, they now run away, using cheap parlour tricks and the machinations of parliamentary processes and the petition of concern to deny the will of the people of Northern Ireland, imposing a minority view on Northern Ireland's LGBT+ community.

"It can only be described as one thing, a stitch-up to prevent people from claiming their rights."

Mr Killen claimed there is strong cross-party support for equal marriage legislation at Westminster and warned "we will not stop until we have secured equality for the people of Northern Ireland".

The Scottish MP was addressing an audience at Amnesty International's Belfast Pride event - on the theme 'Marriage equality: winning at Westminster' -which took place at Queen's University Belfast as part of the city's week-long Pride festival.

Mr Killen said 70% of the Northern Irish public regularly say they support the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

"The Assembly supports it. When it was up and running MLAs voted in favour of same-sex marriage only to be blocked by a petition of concern tabled by a group of politicians who represent a minority view," he said.

"The British Parliament supports it, as there is a clear majority that would vote to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.

"Under these circumstances, it is anti-democratic not to legislate for same-sex marriage and Westminster has a moral and a democratic obligation to do so."

Mr Killen said opponents of same-sex marriage "would lose a vote in a referendum, they would lose a vote in the Assembly and they would lose a vote in Parliament".

He vowed to continue to put pressure on the Government, saying he felt it was "personal as well as political".

He added: "In the absence of the Assembly, MPs and peers are committed to the cause and we will not stop until we have secured equality for the people of Northern Ireland.

"We need to force the Government to change its mind.

"Theresa May needs to decide whether £1bn and a fragile grip of power is worth perpetuating the ongoing discrimination against the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph

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