Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee’s partner calls for legalisation of same-sex marriage in NI

Sara Canning will address a rally calling for change at Belfast City Hall on Saturday.

Sara Canning, the partner of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee (Brian Lawless/PA).
Sara Canning, the partner of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee (Brian Lawless/PA).

The UK Government should legalise same-sex marriage in the absence of Stormont power-sharing, Lyra McKee’s partner has said.

Sara Canning will address a rally calling for change in Northern Ireland at Belfast City Hall on Saturday.

Miss McKee, 29, was a promising journalist shot in the head by dissident republican group the New IRA during clashes with police in the Creggan estate in Londonderry last month.

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Lyra McKee was killed in Derry (Family handout/PA)

Organisers predicted large numbers would march in Belfast on Saturday for what they termed marriage equality.

Same-sex marriage is not allowed in Northern Ireland, although civil partnerships are recognised.

Fresh Stormont political talks were kick-started by Miss McKee’s death.

Miss Canning said: “Lyra and I wanted to get married, surrounded by our families and friends, because we shared a love which meant we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

“But, as things stand, the law in Northern Ireland says that the love that Lyra and I shared is not equal.

“It is unbelievable – and simply unacceptable – that in 2019 this discrimination is allowed to continue in any part of the UK or Ireland.”

Couples like Lyra and I should not have to wait a day longer for the law to recognise us as equals Sara Canning

She added: “With Stormont out of action for almost the last two and a half years, we need the UK Government to step in.

“That’s what I told Theresa May at Lyra’s funeral and that’s what I will be saying at the march for marriage equality in Belfast.

“I hope the Prime Minister is listening. Couples like Lyra and I should not have to wait a day longer for the law to recognise us as equals.”

The ban is one of the disputes at the heart of the power-sharing impasse in Belfast, with the DUP resisting Sinn Fein calls for a law change.

The socially conservative DUP is firmly opposed to any redefinition of the law, insisting marriage should be between a man and a woman.

A majority of Stormont members were in favour of lifting the prohibition when the issue last came to the floor of the chamber but the DUP triggered a contentious voting mechanism – the petition of concern – to block it.

PA

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