You Are Now Entering Free Derry…

"It just shows you the change that's happened over the last few years, from it being a dream to a reality". Derry women Danielle & Emma got married in Donegal last year. Today their marriage is legally recognised in the city they call home. Interview coming up on @BBCRadioFoyle pic.twitter.com/sfR44DGxD2 — Gráinne Morrison (@grengrain) January 13, 2020 Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

Can we set a date yet? Same Sex Marriage in NI

There’s been a lot of analysis of the Westminster vote – but not quite enough understanding of its true implications. Around this time last year I provided an update on the campaign for same sex marriage  so I’ll try and do the same again. Given that NI is still in limbo with no direct rule, but no devolved assembly the Secretary of State is constantly relying on senior civil servants or emergency legislation to keep the lights on in NI. …

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Is the LGBT community about to be thrown under the bus again?

If any of you are like me and are a massive political nerd, then the current round of talks aimed at restoring the Northern Ireland Executive have probably been as exciting and enthralling as washing the dishes. I’m not for a moment insinuating that the talks process isn’t important. But much like washing the dishes, it’s now become routine, benign and banal. Karen Bradley continues to underwhelm and underperform at the most basic level, as both the Alliance Party and …

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Ged Killen: “This is personal. Your rights are my rights. An injury to one, is an injury all.”

Watch back or read Ged Killen MP’s lecture for Amnesty NI as part of Belfast Pride, delivered on Thursday evening at Queen’s University. Speaking on ‘Marriage Equality – Winning at Westminster’ the Scottish Labour MP’s address was followed by a Q&A with William Crawley which included an update on the local legal cases surrounding marriage equality as well as discussion about efforts at Westminster and the stalled NI Assembly.

C’mon Arlene – Take action and start the journey of reconciliation with our community

Malachái O’Hara is the Green party rep for north Belfast, and LGBTQ activist. He was the vice chair of the equal marriage campaign and sits on the board of a suicide prevention charity.  On Monday 18th June, the Belfast Telegraph carried a front page headline that Former First Minister and current DUP leader Arlene Foster would attend an LGBT event. Despite repeated years of invitations by local LGBTQ groups, Arlene, as part of her continuing charm offensive (a well received visit …

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What the High Court Decision on Marriage Equality Means

Like many people, my first reaction to the August 17 High Court decision regarding Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland was deep disappointment. I saw many friends’ expressions of frustration and heartbreak given the political impasse at Stormont and the current marginalization of LGBT people throughout Northern Ireland not just in policy but in society as well. However, the decision is right for the future of Northern Ireland’s legal system despite its current social impact. (For good commentary on the jurisprudent …

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From Mixed Marriage to Same Sex Marriage

When will our Church leaders learn from their past mistakes? I was a teenager in the early 1980s when the fear of the Church leaders was of mixed marriage. As a young Catholic in 1989 in Belfast I fell in love with a Protestant. I knew not to expect support from either my parents or the Churches. The Churches still treated mixed marriage as second class. This was fuelled by the Catholic Bishops’ hard line teaching deriving from the Pope’s …

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Green leader calls on DUP MLAs to show courage & come out in favour of marriage equality

Green Party leader Steven Agnew has commented on Arlene Foster’s recent statements about using POCs to block marriage equality. “I am therefore calling on DUP MLAs to show courage, to be true to themselves, to risk alienating their family, friends and colleagues, and to “come out” in favour of marriage equality. Their party conference this weekend provides them with the perfect platform at which to do so.”

Foster says DUP will use POC to block marriage equality + criticises Equality Commission

DUP leader and First Minister Arlene Foster says DUP will continue to use Petition of Concern to block Equal Marriage legislation. In the same pre-conference interview with Press Association, she criticised the Equality Commission’s handling of the Ashers case, saying that they “need to have a long hard look at how they work with faith communities in Northern Ireland”.

Soapbox: Making marriage sex-neutral is a huge cultural loss to our community

David Smyth is public policy officer at the Evangelical Alliance and here lays out a case against making marriage sex neutral arguing that there is an elision between the terms marriage and wedding which redefines the committment of hetrosexual couples whether it is inside a faith community or outside. Same-sex marriage is a sensitive issue. It’s all about identity, relationships and belief and these are things we all care deeply about. There have been some very personal stories from people …

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Coming out. For equality.

Fergal McFerran is the President of NUS-USI, the organisation which represents around 200,000 students in Higher and Further education across Northern Ireland. He tweets @FergalMcFerran. This weekend I did something I was never sure that I’d be able to do. I got on a train and I went home to see my family. This journey home was different to all of the others I’d ever made though. It was different because this time I went home with the sole purpose …

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Trevor Lunn declares support for Marriage Equality

Interesting development and another bit of evidence that the tide is turning in favour of marriage equality as Alliance MLA for Lagan Valley, Trevor Lunn announced at an Amnesty event on the issue that he would vote in favour of same sex marriage when it next comes up in the Assembly. Lunn abstained on the issue when it was before MLAs in April 2015. Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn publicly supports Equal Marriage at @FeileBelfast and @AmnestyNI event pic.twitter.com/oQWZE4rypY — NUS-USI …

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Ulster says Yes to marriage equality.

Local poet, theologian, group worker and Leader of the Corrymeela Community , Pádraig Ó Tuama, wrote this blog about yesterday’s Marriage Equality march in Belfast and with his permission has allowed us to re-post on Slugger. Here is his story.  So yesterday was a beautiful day. Sun. Celebration. Support. Story. Hope. I gave a cúpla focail at the marriage equality gathering in the city. It was organized by the wonderful people at the Rainbow Project, Amnesty and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Over 10,000 …

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Why marriage equality should not become yet another expensive (and hysterical) NI drama

Siobhan O’Neill is a professor of mental health sciences at Ulster University. She is currently leading several studies on mental health and suicide in Northern Ireland and teaches on several of Ulster’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in psychology.  The obsession with the “naturalness” or otherwise, of particular sexual practices between consenting adults, may appear bizarre and laughable to onlookers. However such debates about the rights of minority groups and the right to discriminate on the basis of personal beliefs influence …

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Question Time: Gay Cake

On a day when the Republic of Ireland goes to the polls on marriage equality, interesting to see cross party support for the Ashers ‘gay cake’ verdict from the major parties in Great Britain. On the panel for last night’s BBC Question Time were Nicky Morgan (Conservative), Stella Creasy (Labour), Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat), columnist Owen Jones and businesswoman Hilary Devey. Take note DUP. [twitter_follow username=”https://twitter.com/The_Firemen” language=”en”]     The Firementwitter.com/The_Firemen

Marriage equality: Yes vote will build unstoppable momentum in Northern Ireland

The Republic will make history tomorrow. That’s if the polls are correct and a majority opt for Yes in the marriage equality referendum. If that happens, Ireland will become the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. An IPSOS/Irish Times survey, taken last week, shows that, excluding undecided voters, 70% of people intend to vote Yes, while 30% for No. However, Yes campaigners are warning against complacency, advising the outcome is likely to come down …

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#SluggerSoapbox: A compassionate plea for a NO vote in the #MarRef…

The following essay is from Kate Bopp, who makes a passionate pitch for voting NO in this week’s Referendum in the Republic. There is not a single jurisdiction on the planet that alters its constitution on the basis of emotive arguments that relate to adult romantic relationships. Constitutional change follows us and envelops aspects of our lives that go far beyond sentiments like love and sexual attraction. The melodrama being played out by the YES campaign is quite bizarre. There …

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#Marref Soapbox: Séamas’s story – ‘Can we talk?’

Séamas de Faoite writes in favour of the Marriage Referendum and relates his own experience to illustrate the ongoing anguish faced by young gay people in their decision in how and when and to whom they can ‘come out’.  ‘Can we talk?’ – it was the refrain of one of my preferred comedians, the ever polemic Joan Rivers, before her untimely death in 2014. She used it as an opener to her more controversial sketches; almost asking the audience’s permission to push the …

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Against the deployment of the ‘homophobia’ word in the marriage equality debate…

So, An Taoiseach announced in his Prime Time interview last night that same sex marriage is “a question that will be put very clearly to the people. I expect it will be on 22 May.” That’s a reference to the fact that to get through any statute allowing same sex marriage that poor battered book of basic rules (aka the Irish Constitution) has to be amended by Referendum. Now if the polls are anything to go by, it should be a walk in the …

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