A new poll released by Northern Ireland polling and market research company, Lucidtalk, has revealed that a majority (61%) of the population are in favour of same-sex marriage. This includes 91% of those who support republican parties, and 93% of those who support neither republican nor unionist parties. Northern Ireland Humanists has again called for same-sex marriage to gain legal recognition.
In 2016, a vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly ended with a majority in favour of legally recognising same-sex marriage, but this outcome was blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) using what is known as the ‘petition of concern’, a veto mechanism originally implemented to prevent republican and unionist political parties from passing laws to harm one another. In the 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly elections, the DUP won 28 seats, two short of what it would need to block same-sex marriage again without support from other unionist parties. However, the Northern Ireland Assembly has yet to re-convene following the collapse of power sharing between the unionist DUP and republican Sinn Féin.
Northern Ireland remains the only part of the United Kingdom which does not give same-sex couples the right to marry. In 2013 and 2014, both the UK Parliament and Scottish Parliament passed laws to legalise same-sex marriage. This was followed in 2015 by a constitutional referendum in the the Republic of Ireland which showed 70% for marriage equality.
Humanists UK and Northern Ireland Humanists is currently taking a legal case to secure legal recognition for humanist marriages in Northern Ireland.
Boyd Sleator, Northern Ireland Humanists coordinator, said, ‘A majority of people in Northern Ireland support marriage equality, and so do a majority of our elected representatives. The only reason same-sex marriage is not already legal in Northern Ireland is due to a veto power in the hands of a few legislators with a religious agenda. However, we remain optimistic that change is around the corner, and Northern Ireland Humanists is working hard to ensure that, if Northern Ireland can get the Assembly working again, that same-sex marriage legislation will be passed.’
For further comment or information, please contact Northern Ireland Humanists Development officer Boyd Sleator on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07470 395090.
Northern Ireland Humanists is a part of Humanists UK, working with the Humanist Association of Ireland. We advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.
Read more about Humanists UK’s campaigns around marriage laws: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/human-rights-and-equality/marriage-laws/
Humanists UK recently changed its name from the British Humanist Association: https://humanism.org.uk/2017/05/22/bha-becomes-humanists-uk/
LucidTalk published a results preview for its poll on attitudes to marriage equality on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucidTalk/status/909163678078992390