DUP petition over same sex marriage

Published Friday, 26 April 2013
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The DUP has tabled a petition of concern against a Sinn Féin motion calling for same sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland.

DUP petition over same sex marriage
A protest at Stormont in favour of same sex marriage. (© PA)

A debate on the motion is due to take place in the Assembly next week.

However the petition of concern means it cannot be passed unless it receives cross-community support.

DUP Chief Whip Peter Weir said the debate "will only result in further embarrassment for those parties and individuals who avoid telling the electorate where they stand".

The first same sex civil partnership in the UK took place in Belfast in December 2005, but same sex marriage is still illegal.

Earlier this year MPs backed a bill to make it law in England and Wales, but similar proposals for same sex marriage were rejected at Stormont last year.

Mr Weir continued: "It has been made very clear that same sex marriage will not be introduced in NI and the DUP is tabling a Petition of Concern to ensure that this motion will not be carried.

"We are the only party to have a united position in opposition to the redefinition of marriage.

"However we also do not believe that a Constitutional Convention in the Republic of Ireland should have any input into policy which is wholly a matter for representatives in this part of the United Kingdom to decide."

But Sinn Féin South Down MLA Catríona Ruane argued the issue of same sex marriage was widely supported at the constitutional convention, which was comprised of political representatives from across the island and members of the public.

She said: "An overwhelming majority of those 99 people, voted for equal marriage, 81% voted that the state shall protect and provide for same sex marriage, they also voted for children's rights to be protected."

"This is an equality issue, people who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender in our communities, they deserve rights.

"What the DUP need to do is go out and explain to the gay and lesbian people in their communities, why they are blocking equality. Equality threatens nobody."

Both the Presbyterian and Catholic Church have written to Assembly Members urging them to reject the motion.

But Gerry Lynch, regular churchgoer and vice chair of campaign group Changing Attitude Ireland argues that civil marriage should be open to all.

"We're talking about civil marriage here not religious marriage. It should be based on what's best for society, not on the precepts of any particular church," he said.

"As a Christian, I believe marriage is a bedrock, a foundation of society and there are already thousands of couples in Northern Ireland living in same sex relationships long term."

© UTV News
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74 Comments
Steve in Belfast wrote (572 days ago):
To put it simply the DUP are homophobes. If you vote for them you will get no change and a very 1950s attitude to everything. The only reason people vote for them is to "keep the other side out" meaning a party that supports a United Ireland etc but the Union is safe for now and it wouldn't matter if you voted for even Sinn Fein as the union will only be comprimised in a referendum on independence. Wake up and vote for a party with values you respect.
OldSod in Fermanagh wrote (572 days ago):
Whats the big deal, if two consenting adults want to marry, then let them get on with it. What does their gender or sexuality matter? If fundamentalists don't like it, then they don't have to marry someone of the same sex if they don't fancy it. Nobody is talking of churches being forced to conduct the ceremonies or anything like that. It's no skin off anybody's nose if two people who love each other have the right to formally commit to each other for the rest of their lives through thick and thin.
David in Belfast wrote (573 days ago):
Straight or gay, it doesn't matter. The potential for total corruption is within us all. That is why we become 'new creations' in Christ Jesus after the forgiveness of sins. The old things pass away, behold all things become new. If you or I persist with the grotesque sins of the flesh it is clear that we are not new creations and are destined for judgement.
Larry in East Belfast wrote (573 days ago):
The Bible said that Ham's children would serve their brethren. This is exactly what has happened down the centuries, if you check who the decendents of Ham were, they are nations where the service industry is very strong. It does not necessarity need to be slavery as we know it.
David in East Belfast wrote (573 days ago):
@Hugh in Belfast. Your problem is that you are trying to fool yourself that there is no God. It is the very fact that Christians don't hide behind their Bible that annoys you. Christians stand up for their Bible, proud to be insulted and shunned because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
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