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Couples in Northern Ireland deserve equality - and our support

March 28, 2018 4:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Pride flag. Image: Benson Kua.

I couldn't have been prouder of Lynne Featherstone and the Liberal Democrats in government when we changed the law in England, bringing in equal marriage.

It is, without doubt, one of the best things our party did in government.

Equal Marriage is, without doubt, one of the best things the Liberal Democrats did in Government.

And whilst all couples in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland all now enjoy the right to marry the person they love, sadly the same isn't true in Northern Ireland.

That's why I am part of a cross-party group of MPs proposing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Bill in the House of Commons today.

I know that in sponsoring this legislation I have the backing of Liberal Democrat members across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

It was a real pleasure to meet with campaigners from Northern Ireland's Love Equality coalition in Parliament yesterday.

They've done amazing work with the public, community organisations and campaign groups to build support for this much-needed change in the law. Equal marriage now has the support of most parties in Northern Ireland, including enthusiast support from our colleagues in the Alliance Party who have long campaigned for marriage equality.

Indeed, before its collapse, a majority of Assembly Members had voted to support equal marriage.

Before its collapse, a majority of Assembly Members had voted to support equal marriage.

Now I'd much rather that this decision was being made by local politicians in Belfast - but given that there is no immediate prospect of getting the Northern Ireland Assembly up and running I believe it is the right thing to do for MPs to be changing the law in Westminster.

Same-sex couples there have waited too long already for equality.

Given the circumstances, we owe it to the people of Northern Ireland to do the right thing and to allow all couples in the province the right to marry the person they love.

After all, love is love - no matter where you live.