The Northern Ireland Assembly is to debate Equal marriage on 29th April 2014. This is the third Equal Marriage motion to be debated in the Assembly with previous motions having fallen.

This motion tabled by  Ms Caitríona Ruane, MLA South Down (Sinn Fein), Ms Bronwyn McGahan, MLA  Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Sinn Fein), Ms Megan Fearon, MLA Newry and Armagh (Sinn Fein), Mr Steven Agnew, MLA North Down (Green Party), Ms Anna Lo MBE, MLA South Belfast (Alliance Party), Mr Daithí McKay, MLA – North Antrim (Sinn Fein) proposes:

“That this Assembly notes that other jurisdictions on these islands have moved forward with equal marriage rights for same-sex couples; believes that all couples, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should have the same legal entitlement to marry and to the protections, rights, obligations and benefits afforded by the legal institution of marriage; supports freedom of religion by allowing religious institutions to define, observe and practise marriage according to their beliefs, granting them the freedom whether or not to conduct same-sex marriages; calls on the Minister of Finance and Personnel to introduce legislation to guarantee that couples of any sex or gender identity receive equal benefit; and further calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to ensure that all legislation adheres to the Executive’s commitments to protect equality for all”.

Speaking about the motion John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said “Equal Marriage is a reality in England and Wales. The Scottish parliament has already voted overwhelmingly in favour of equal marriage and same-sex couples will be able to marry later this year. In the South of Ireland, a referendum is expected in the early part of 2015, and early opinion polls suggest a significant majority in favour. Twice before, an equal marriage motion has been debated in the Northern Ireland Assembly, losing by a small margin both times.  We would encourage all people who support Equal Marriage to write, email, or call their local Assembly members to vote yes on April 29th”

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