Big business’s demand for same sex marriage must set a precedent for more challenges to our embarrassingly out of touch politicians

Hooray!   At last! Civil society, for so long  fearful of saying a single word that would offend a politician, has plucked up enough courage to speak out on a burning issue that’s also a glaring anomaly.  In a  move  that takes advantage of the political vacuum and shows just how fed up they are with it,  normally cautious big business is calling  for equal marriage to be extended to Northern Ireland. They’re arguing on the grounds of creating better jobs …

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A revised Belfast Agreement is needed more than nostalgia for 1998

Like Magna Carta, the Belfast/ Good Friday Agreement has acquired the status of icon of the constitution. This is not altogether in its favour.  A good deal of nonsense is talked about Magna Carta.  Back in 1215, no sooner had the ink dried on the vellum of the fair copy, than bad King John denounced it. But the idea of curbing the unbridled power of the monarch could not be unborn and it finally evolved into government by the rule …

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Christians must break Conservative mould

The Marriage Referendum in May 2015 was a seminal moment in the political and faith life of this island. It was a moment when Irish people chose to celebrate the difference and the diversity of our sons and daughters and, in doing so, defy one of our most enduring stereotypes – as a country of conservative Christians. One of the most heartening characteristics of the campaign for marriage equality was that it did not divide the country between those of …

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Latest findings on a border poll

From the British- Irish Parliamentary assembly meeting in Liverpool, as reported in the Sunday Times (£) Both Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland who tend not to vote — in either Westminster or assembly elections — would reject a united Ireland in the event of a poll, according to research presented to Irish and British politicians. “Non-voters” would be decisive in a border poll because they are likely to come out in record numbers, according to an analysis by Liverpool …

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Belfast City Council votes in favour of Same Sex Marriage

Belfast City Councillors voted in favour of Same Sex Marriage last night. The motion which was brought by Alliance Party Councillor, Emmet McDonough-Brown and seconded by Sinn Fein’s Jim McVeigh was passed 38 votes in favour to 13 against. Two councillors from the SDLP group abstained on the vote. Speaking on his motion Cllr McDonough-Brown said that people who want to be able to commit to each other should be able to and that fundamentally we had a choice to …

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Another Societal Milestone Passed; What Next for Progressing Ireland?

Last Saturday’s overwhelmingly positive referendum outcome in support of constitutional recognition for same-sex marriage was a great result for progress, equality, liberty, inclusion, rights for everyone and all things good in Ireland. It was a proud and historic moment for Irish society generally and especially for those Irish citizens living in the Republic who had and positively utilised the residential privilege to vote. To think homosexual acts were only decriminalised in the state 22 years ago in 1993… Having found themselves under the repressive moral and …

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Losing the armour after decades of hurt

Paul Francis Quinn is a singer and in this heartfelt piece he describes exactly what the recent marriage referendum result meant for him and many others. In 1986, near the end of a long, balmy and sleepless summer, a heterosexual male friend and I took the DART from the suburbs of Bray. Into the city we went and once there he promptly deposited me in a dingy, beer stained bar called “The George”. A third of the size it is …

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My thoughts on how @yesequality2015 won #MarRef so convincingly

These are early thoughts only. They are some crude (and at times rambling) musings penned on the morning after the night before, but it is based on reviewing some notes put together back in late February for the Yes Equality campaign. Though this list is by no means exhaustive, here are four key elements which I see as essential to the success of the Yes Equality ground and air campaigns. My analysis, though that is an over glorified to describe this, …

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Yes to Marriage Equality!

Gay people have long been subjected to the nonsensical presumption that they and the activities in which they engage are unnatural; as if the concept of opposite-sex marriage is somehow more natural than the concept of same-sex marriage. This happens to form one of the most popular moral attacks against homosexuality out there. Both types of marriage are non-static social constructs and, thus, both are inherently as natural or unnatural as each other (if one indeed wishes to invoke such a false and meaningless dichotomy as …

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The right side of truth – Saying No to Same Sex Marriage

James D. is well known to many people on Twitter as @jdtips . Apart from reading odds and giving many betting tips he is also an advocate of a No vote in the upcoming referendum on same sex marriage.  Having heard the case for the ‘Yes’ vote he now lays out his case for people to hear. I believe that a vast majority of people who support same-sex marriage are well intentioned and people of good will. They are upstanding …

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“To interfere with the definition of marriage is not a simple or a trivial matter” – Archbishop Martin

Whilst some political parties are being pilloried in Northern Ireland, the chief super-naturalist head of the Catholic Church in Ireland [That’s North and South? – Ed], Archbishop Eamon Martin, has issued a statement [pdf file] of the church’s opposition to a proposed change to the Irish Constitution on same-sex marriage. From the RTÉ report [Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin] said: “Until now, Ireland has accepted that it is in the best interests of children and of society to promote …

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Marriage Equality motion fails in the Assembly

Today the Assembly narrowly rejected a Sinn Fein motion on Marriage Equality 47 votes in favour to 49 against. Three Alliance MLAs abstained and five SDLP MLAs did not turn up for the vote (I understand one had a family bereavement.) Of the 53 Unionists who voted just four supported the motion (Danny Kinahan, Basil McCrea, Claire Sugden and John McCallister). In speaking about the motion and the DUPs petition of concern,  the Sinn Fein MLA for Newry & Armagh, …

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Same sex marriage? No thanks we’re British

As of January 1st 2015 Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same sex marriage remains illegal. A new law on gay marriage came into effect in Scotland in December 2014 and the first same sex weddings were held at 00:01 on Hogmanay. A total of 250 couples have converted their civil partnerships to marriage since the new law – the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill – came into effect on 16 December. Same-sex marriage …

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Uniting Ireland: no #abortion, no #equalmarriage

Some revealing attitudes in the debates on equal marriage and abortion either side of the border this week. Last night the heads of the proposed Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 were published in Dublin (full details here courtesy of the Journal.ie). Initial reaction has been mixed on both the pro-choice and anti-abortion sides, with most emphasis on the decision-making process being resolved to unanimous agreement between three psychiatrists (not the six suggested during last week’s flag-flying exercise) in cases where …

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