| 18.3°C Belfast

Trimble reveals daughter is in a same-sex marriage


Lord Trimble

Former First Minister Lord Trimble has revealed that his daughter is in a same-sex marriage.

The former Ulster Unionist leader was speaking in the House of Lords last night as peers debated landmark votes in the Commons to liberalise access to abortion and allow same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland are flawed and will not work.

Lord Trimble said they were "delicate matters".

He said: "I have found myself taking a particular position with regard to same-sex marriage, which was forced upon me when my elder daughter got married to her girlfriend.

"I cannot change that and I cannot now go around saying that I am opposed to it because I acquiesced to it. There we are."

It's understood Mr Trimble's daughter, who lives in London, married her partner two years ago - something she cannot do in Northern Ireland.

Later, DUP peer Lord McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown warned the actions of the Commons would undermine the Stormont talks.

The "contentious social issues" of same-sex marriage and abortion were "the prerogative of the Northern Ireland Assembly and ought to have been left to any devolved administration to decide", he argued.

"This legislation has driven a coach and horses through the very principle of devolution and overrides it," he said.

Opening the debate, Northern Ireland Minister Lord Duncan of Springbank had warned that the same-sex marriage and abortion amendments "do not function properly and so do not enable the Government to deliver on the instruction of Parliament".

But he said talks have been held with the MPs behind the approved reforms to ensure they can be enacted.

"I will come back to the changes we need to make to this Bill."

Labour peer Lord Dubs said he was "slightly disconcerted" by the minister's comments.

He said: "Do the Government intend to leave the Bill as it is, to make technical modifications to the amendments but keep the spirit of them, or to try to reverse them?

"It would be helpful to know that, because I was all set to say, 'Well done the Commons' and regard those issues as no longer necessary to talk about." Earlier yesterday, the DUP insisted there is an "irony" in Sinn Fein wanting the UK Government to legislate on Northern Ireland matters after MPs voted to change the law on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP also warned Westminster's intervention on Tuesday will "de-incentivise" the republican party in efforts to restore devolution, as the amendments only go ahead if devolution is not restored by October 21.

"It's quite ironic, for an Irish republican party to argue the British Parliament is the proper place to deal with very sensitive legislation, very sensitive matters," he said.

But Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy said there was an onus on London to act in Stormont's absence.

"The government with jurisdiction has a responsibility for delivering rights if the devolved institution is denying those rights," said the MLA.

"(The DUP) unfortunately over the last number of years have denied a series of rights. Not just on marriage equality, but on language and legacy matters."

Belfast Telegraph