Patrick Corrigan wrote on Slugger yesterday asking “Equal marriage – how long will Northern Ireland’s gay couples have to wait?”. Today the DUP lodged a Petition of Concern against the motion which is to be debated in Stormont on Monday.
As Steven Agnew tweeted ” Legislation designed to protect minorities used to prevent the passing of a motion to enhance minority rights”. This on the same day that the DUP were happily celebrating the Ulster Covenant, a document which calls on the people of Ulster to defend their cherished position of equal citizenship within the United Kingdom, by any means necessary.Yet there are things that the LGBT communities in England, Scotland and Wales are able to do, give blood after a twelve month deferral period, adopt as a couple, and there are moves to wards marriage equality. But these are not cherished rights of UK citizenship it seems by the DUP delegation on the hill.
The wording of the motion seeks to extend civil rights and allows for those religious groups that don’t want it to be protected. In essence the motion encapsulates a lot of the spirit of the Ulster Covenant defending civil and religious freedom in a complex dance. It goes on to call on OFMDFM to come up with the legislation necessary. So is the DUP concern that the First Minster won’t be able to come up with adequate legislation on the issue to be debated? Of course that is not why they are petitioning.
The DUP have 68% of the Unionist designation in Stormont and that is easily enough to defeat any motion by a Petition of Concern they may wish to if they vote as a block. But that Covenant that they hold so dear, and which many LGBT people’s ancestors also signed, said that Home Rule would lead to a subversion of Ulster’s civil and religious freedom.
I doubt that the forebears of many in our province thought that 100 years on a subversion of a devolved legislative procedure made to protect minorities would be exercised by Unionists to try such a blatant attempt to prevent progress for any minority. As a result looking to deny some Ulster citizens the same rights as fellow citizens elsewhere in that United Kingdom.
It is all very Animal Farm like.
All positions of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom are cherished, but some are more cherished and others we will use all means necessary to keep from happening here.
If anything a cross community vote on this should require 40% of all the straight MLAs who can get married and 40% of the invisible LGBT MLAs who can’t, but DUP seem to miss the point when they called for this petition of concern on a cross ‘traditional’ communities minority.
A long time a Lib Dem activist, blogger and candidate in Scotland and before returning and continuing to be so in Northern Ireland since August 2010.