Thousands marched for same-sex marriage in Belfast
Gay couples in Northern Ireland have been inspired by the royal wedding to protest for marriage equality.
With the entire country (and the rest of the world) celebrating the marriage Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, it has left some couples wondering when it will be their turn.
Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK or Ireland that still does not allow same-sex couples to marry.
The UK government, and Prime Minister Theresa May, has refused to pass a law allowing marriage equality.
Couple, inspired by royal wedding , want to get married
William Dalzell and Stephen Donnan, a couple, will participate in a march and rally for equal marriage on 2 June.
‘It’s hard not to feel like second class citizens,’ said Donnan to BelfastLive.
‘We hope Harry and Meghan have a really great day. But we just wish that we had the same right to get married as they enjoy.
‘We’ve actually been a couple slightly longer than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and, as it happens, we even got engaged around the same time.
‘The difference is that our Government won’t allow us to get married because we are gay.’
Northern Ireland marriage equality bill stalled
On 11 May, a private member’s bill was blocked and the hopes for marriage equality in Northern Ireland stalled.
The bill was rescheduled to appear for its second reading on 26 October.
Gavin Boyd, the policy director for The Rainbow Project, has said he was ‘disappointed’.
‘This will be the tactic going forward. We imagine the exact same strategy will be used again,’ he told Gay Star News, saying it is likely the bill will just keep being delayed.
‘It’s very disappointing position for us to be in. This is going to be frustrating for LGBT people across Northern Ireland. I imagine they will express their frustration in different ways.’
76% of people in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriage.
Is Theresa May ‘hiding behind the DUP’?
The DUP has a deal with the Conservatives. Following losing a Tory majority, the DUP agreed to support Tory bills in exchange for £1.2 billion for Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland’s office said the Government’s policy is to allow a free vote on matters of conscience such as equal marriage.
Belfast couple Cara McCann and Amanda McGurk are speaking to politicians about the bill.
‘We don’t have the same rights as the people who live in the same country as us,’ McCann told Gay Star News.
The DUP has repeatedly blocked marriage equality in Northern Ireland. They have used a Petition of Concern, a voting mechanism designed to protest the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland.
‘As a kid, you don’t dream of getting a civil partnership. You dream of getting married.
‘I want to call Amanda my wife.’