Sunday, June 14, 2015

Belfast responds to anti-gay marriage vote.

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Back in April of this year, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted for the fourth time against legalizing gay marriage. According to Buzzfeed, it was a bloc of Unionist (Protestant) parties that ensured defeat.  The vote was despite almost two thirds of the population supporting gay marriage. What this will mean for couples married in the UK is that when visiting Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, they will not be recognized as legally married.

In response to the vote and the refusal of a Belfast bakery to bake a pro gay marriage cake last month for which they were found guilty of discrimination by a Belfast court, a huge march of 10,000 or more took to the streets of the city and had a rally outside Belfast City Hall. The March and rally was organized by Amnesty International and other groups including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

What was even more important is the rally included both Catholics and Protestanst: “It was neither orange nor green [the Unionist and Republican colours]. It was all the colours of the rainbow. And it marked a huge new injection of momentum into the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland. We’re delighted. It’s a sign that public opinion has shifted and shifted. It’s now an unstoppable tide.”, one speaker said.

Read more and more pictures here

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