Belfast Telegraph

Friend hopes gay marriage rights will be part of legacy

By Maya Oppenheim

Support for women's rights has soared in the wake of Lyra McKee's death as her legacy lives on, a friend of the murdered journalist has said.

Ms McKee (29), a campaigner for LGBT+ rights, died after she was shot while covering a riot in Londonderry.

Friend Claire Allan said she hoped the tragedy would spur Northern Ireland to legalise same-sex marriage in her honour.

"She said her partner was the love of her life," Derry-born novelist Ms Allan said.

"She would do whatever for her partner Sarah. She said she had found her Derry girl. But due to the laws here, Lyra and Sarah could not get married. Can Lyra's legacy be to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland?"

She added: "Lyra was a big women's rights campaigner. She was pro-choice and in favour of the decriminalisation of abortion. There is a strong climate for change here generally. I feel it. I feel that people really crave it."

Ms Allan, a former reporter, said she did not initially cry when she heard what had happened, because she was in shock.

She added: "But I have cried on a number of occasions since.

"I have spoken to Sarah her partner a couple of times and what has really got to me is her bravery and stoicism.

"Her world has completely fallen apart but she is trying to be as positive as she can be.

"Lyra was so young and it seems like a complete waste of talent. It is still so fresh and raw. We can't get our heads round it in Derry yet, despite wall to wall coverage. She was one of the good ones. It is just so senseless."

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