Belfast Telegraph

MPs pile pressure on May over same-sex marriage Bill for NI

By Staff Reporter

A group of cross-party MPs has called on Theresa May to introduce a Government Bill to legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

A Private Member's Bill by Co Armagh-born Labour MP Conor McGinn was blocked in the House of Commons by a single objection back in May.

After Sir Christopher Chope blocked a similar Bill to outlaw "upskirting" Mrs May brought forward a Government 'anti-upskirting' Bill on Thursday.

In a letter to The Times, the MPs have now called on the Prime Minister to do the same for same-sex marriage in the province.

The MPs are all sponsors of the Northern Ireland Equal Marriage Bill, which is believed to have widespread support in Parliament.

Signatories include Mr McGinn, Yvette Cooper, the Conservative former Education Secretary Justine Greening and Green MP Caroline Lucas, as well as former shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Smith.

"It is deeply unfair that, in 2018, same-sex couples in Northern Ireland are prohibited by law from marrying but those in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are permitted to do so," the MPS wrote in the newspaper.

"The lack of a functioning government in Northern Ireland should not delay the delivery of fundamental rights,"

When the original Bill was blocked Mrs May said she hoped an Executive would be in place to address the matter.

But Stormont remains deadlocked.

The MPs' intervention was welcomed by Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International, one of the members of the Love Equality campaign for marriage equality.

He said: "There has been no devolved government in Northern Ireland for 18 months and there is no prospect of it returning anytime soon.

"Responsibility for ending discrimination against LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland now rests with the UK Government.

"Same-sex couples in Northern Ireland should not be forced to wait a moment longer to be treated as equal citizens."

Belfast Telegraph

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