Equal marriage, after southern Ireland, northern Ireland?

This video from Ireland says about itself:

Vote Yes for Marriage EqualitySinn Féin launch

14 April 2015

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking at the launch of the party’s Referendum campaign, has urged voters to “give a resounding Yes to both referendum issues”.

Teachta Adams said:

“In just five weeks’ time two referendums will be held. One is to reduce the eligibility age for a candidate for the Presidential elections. The second is on marriage equality.

“Sinn Féin is calling for a Yes vote in both referendums.

“In respect of the Marriage Equality Referendum, many of us will have a member of our family or extended family who is gay. All of us, whatever age we are or wherever we live or work, know someone who is gay.

“They want what we want – the right to live their lives as full and contributing citizens and to share in the love of a family of their own.

“I would also appeal for everyone to join the campaign for a Yes Vote.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Northern Ireland under pressure after Irish gay marriage referendum win

LGBT campaigners to step up push for equal marriage rights after Northern Ireland becomes only western European country where it is still banned

Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent

Sunday 24 May 2015 15.37 BST

Politicians in Northern Ireland will face intense pressure from LGBT rights campaigners to “catch up” with the rest of western Europe after the Irish Republic overwhelmingly backed same-sex marriage in a referendum.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions will join Amnesty International and gay rights group the Rainbow Project to hold a mass rally in support of equal marriage rights on 13 June, while a legal test case has also been lodged with Belfast’s courts.

After Friday’s historic referendum, in which the Republic’s voters endorsed same-sex marriage by 2-1, Northern Ireland remains the last country in western Europe where LGBT couples are barred from getting married.

Attempts to legislate to allow gay marriage have been vetoed by the Democratic Unionist party and a majority of Ulster Unionists in the devolved Northern Ireland assembly at Stormont.

An ICTU spokesman said the region needed to catch up with the rest of democratic Europe – and in particular every other part of the UK. “In 1998 Northern Ireland became one of the most advanced places on earth for human rights. Section 75 of the Good Friday agreement dealt with human rights and enshrined the rights of every citizen to be treated equally in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Since then Northern Ireland has slipped back in terms of the human rights agenda and is now isolated in the UK as the only place where a gay couple cannot get married. The rally will be held in solidarity with the gay community.”

Section 75 of the Good Friday agreement guarantees the right of every citizen to avail themselves of state services in the region. LGBT rights campaigners believe that these services include marriages in civil spaces such as council chambers.

Amnesty’s campaign director in Northern Ireland, Patrick Corrigan, has called for a mass turnout at the rally, which will start from Belfast’s Writers Square at 2.30pm. Corrigan said people in Northern Ireland should show they are “sick of living in a discriminatory backwater for gay people”.

Last month, a Sinn Féin motion on marriage equality fell after 47 Stormont assembly members voted in support while 49 unionists voted against. Even if there had been a small majority in favour, the DUP would have exercised a special veto drawn up under devolution.

The so-called Petition of Concern allows any party to veto legislation if they can argue the law would not have sufficient cross-community/Protestant-Catholic support.

Praising the Republic’s electorate, John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, said: “We are all simply elated at this stunning, landslide victory for our sisters and brothers in the Republic. They have brought Ireland on a journey of acceptance and they have done so with grace, compassion and good humour.”

The Rainbow Project has confirmed that an English couple are challenging the gay marriage ban in Northern Ireland. That case is expected to reach the courts in Belfast by November.

DUP objections to a bill of rights that would cover Northern Ireland and the Republic are based more on religious than political grounds, the Guardian has learned. It is understood one of the main reasons the DUP continues to block the bill of rights – promised in the wake of the Good Friday agreement – is because it might lead to gay couples having the right to marry.

A source told the Guardian on Sunday: “The DUP now appears more obsessed with gay people and their demands than any traditional, sectarian objections to the bill of rights. It reflects the continued strong influence of the evangelical Christian lobby within the party.”

Meanwhile, the Catholic church in Ireland is trying to come to terms with the size of the vote in favour of gay marriage. A majority of 62% backed the constitutional change in the first referendum of its kind on Friday.

Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, said the church “needed a reality check” after the outcome. “I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. I’m saying there’s a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the church,” Martin said after Saturday’s result.

The senior Catholic cleric and former Vatican diplomat warned that the church should “not move into denial of the realities”. Only one of the Republic’s parliamentary constituencies, Roscommon South Leitrim, voted no. Out of total of just over 3 million voters, 1,149,390 backed same-sex marriage while 684,616 voted no.

Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland’s first minister, admitted to hospital. DUP says 66-year-old leader is undergoing tests, understood to be for a suspected heart condition, after feeling unwell on Monday morning: here.

The Irish people’s full emancipation after centuries of Church despotism is a step nearer, says Ruairi Creaney: here.

In the four days since Ireland voted to legalise same-sex marriage, another country has already been added to the growing list of nations where couples of any gender can walk down the aisle. Greenland’s parliament voted unanimously to adopt Danish laws allowing equal unions on Tuesday, becoming the 21st country in the world where gay people can get married. That move was in the making long before Ireland’s referendum but the country’s historic vote on Saturday has renewed the push for equality around the world: here.

AMERICA’S MORALS SHIFT LEFT “Americans are becoming increasingly more liberal across several moral issues. According to a new Gallup study, a record high percentage of Americans are now accepting of same-sex relationships, having a baby outside of marriage and premarital sex between men and women.” [Janie Velencia, HuffPost]

29 thoughts on “Equal marriage, after southern Ireland, northern Ireland?

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  5. Any day now, the Supreme Court could release their decision in Obergefell v. Hodges — a case that WILL determine if marriage equality becomes legal throughout all of America.

    Now, let’s continue to show the world that we are ready for equal justice under the law — because love can’t wait for marriage equality any longer!

    Our goal is for 500,000 people to change their Facebook profile pictures by decision day. But really, we’re focused on one person in particular — you! You can make an impact in your network of friends and family. Your show of support will mean so much to Jim Obergefell and all the plaintiffs in preparation for the Supreme Court announcement.

    We’ve made going red incredibly easy…

    Turn your profile photo red to show your support for marriage equality!

    Go Red!

    Add to Twitter Add to Facebook

    1. Visit hrc.org/red
    2. Select which profile picture you would like to change — Facebook or Twitter
    3. Log in and click “Add”

    You’re all set!

    This simple action will just take a few seconds, but will have a powerful impact, and will help show unified support for marriage equality, once and for all.

    Join us by showing that you’re standing on the right side of history — change your profile picture right now.

    Let’s go red for equality!


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  15. Thursday 2nd June 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    by Peter Frost

    I’M just back from Ireland where my wife Ann and I celebrated two great events.

    Our golden wedding — yes, we have been married for 50 years — and the centenary of the Easter Rising when, 100 years ago, a gallant band of Irish freedom fighters challenged the might of the most powerful empire in history.

    Coincidently, the first holiday Ann and I ever took together, shortly before our wedding, was also to Ireland.

    We hitch-hiked all around the country against the background of the 50th anniversary of the Rising celebrations going on at the time.

    Both Ann and I have a bit of Irish ancestry. Both our families came from Maida Vale in west London, where the great Irish republican leader Michael Collins came to work for the Post Office at the age of 15 in 1906.

    Like us, he learned his politics and his republicanism on the streets of Co Kilburn.

    Ann and I would often speak from a Young Communist soapbox outside the Rifle Volunteer pub in Kilburn High Road.

    In 1966 when republicans in Dublin blew up Nelson’s Column outside the GPO in O’Connell Street, Nelson’s stone head was displayed on the bar of the Rifle Volunteer. That inspired us to visit Ireland and we have been back many times since.

    On that first visit, 50 years after the 1916 Easter Rising, we learnt all about the heroes, the men of 1916. And with just one notable exception they were all men.

    For this year’s centenary however there is a lot more being celebrated about the hundreds of women who also fought for the newly declared republic.

    Indeed, this year I wrote, again for the Morning Star, my own tribute to the women of the Easter Rising and I was delighted that the article was reprinted in my book Hidden from History.

    Now, however, we are also beginning to realise and talk about just how many of those involved in the historic events of Easter 1916 were also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

    This tied in well with the other reason I had to be in Ireland. Unite the union had invited me to speak at the dedication of a training suite to the memory of Mark Ashton, the young gay activist who is the hero of the award-winning film Pride.

    I had written an article for the Morning Star reminding people of Mark’s achievements and of his communist politics. Unite had asked me to make a speech at the dedication based on that article.

    I told the Belfast audience a little about the amazing story of Mark Ashton and his all too short life — a life ended by Aids at the age of just 26 in 1987.

    Mark, a mercurial young Irishman, was a gay rights activist and a founder member — some would say the founding member — of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) during the epic miners’ strike of the 1980s.

    LGSM came together to support the British miners during the year-long strike of 1984-5.

    Part of Mark’s story is told in the film Pride, but sadly the film doesn’t mention what was one of the most important factors that guided and inspired him in all his actions.

    I knew, and worked, with Mark during the miners’ strike when he was general secretary of the Young Communist League (YCL). His communist principles guided his life.

    They are very proud of Mark in this part of Ireland. He spent his early years up until the age of 18 in Portrush, Co Antrim.

    Today, campaigners are trying to get a blue plaque erected in his home town. Unite the union is also introducing a bursary for young Irish LBGT activists to perpetuate Mark’s name.

    As well as talking about Mark and his achievements, I used the meeting to also pay tribute to some of the LGBT people involved in the fight for a free and united Ireland over the century since 1916.

    Women like Kathleen Lynn, Suffragette, doctor and captain of the Irish Citizens Army who fought alongside her lover and lifetime partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen during Easter week 1916.

    Elizabeth O’Farrell and her life partner Julia Grenan were two others who both tended to the wounded on Moore Street next to the ruins of the GPO.

    Famously it was O’Farrell’s feet that were airbrushed out of a photograph of Pearse’s surrender. Truly a woman hidden from history.

    Helena Molony, an Abbey actress, was another key player in the Rising. She was a bisexual radical who linked feminism, the labour movement and national sovereignty.

    She was captured and jailed for her part in the Easter events. She went on to be elected president of the Federation of Irish Trade Unions in 1937.

    Although romantically linked with men, including fellow Abbey actor Sean Connolly, she lived with her female partner Evelyn O’Brien, from the 1940s until her death in 1967.

    Some writers and researchers have suggested these women played only a minor part in the rising as messengers and nurses, but in fact Helena Molony and Kathleen Lynn, for instance, took command of the rebel forces attacking the British headquarters in Dublin Castle.

    Constance Markievicz was second in command at St Stephen’s Green at Easter 1916. Her sister Eva Gore-Booth was an anti-war Suffragette, socialist, active trade unionist and openly lesbian.

    The LGBT struggle is particularly hard in the north of Ireland. Here outright homophobic bigotry combined with religious hypocrisy are taken to new extreme levels.

    Take the example of Iris Robinson, DUP MP and wife of Peter Robinson, first minister of Northern Ireland until this year. She offered gay men psychiatric treatment to make them straight and declared homosexuality was worse than sexually abusing children.

    But Robinson is in no position to lecture others about morality. She illegally arranged for a 19-year-old butcher she was having an affair with to get £50,000 of local government money to open a posh restaurant.

    Another evangelical Christian, David McConaghie, who as a leader of Ian Paisley’s rabidly anti-gay Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster demanded the banning of Belfast’s Gay Pride Festival and blood donation by gay men.

    He was arrested and charged with concealing a camera in a toilet in the DUP MP’s office where he worked to spy on female colleagues for purposes of sexual gratification.

    To combat this homophobic hatred and bigotry takes real courage and I was proud to share the platform with some really brave campaigners for LGBT rights in the north of Ireland.

    John O’Doherty is director of Belfast’s Rainbow Project. Jimmy Kelly, Unite’s Irish regional secretary, has thrown the weight of his union behind the struggle for LGBT rights in Ireland.

    Greg Sachno, education tutor with the Irish Region Unite, and Francis Loughlin, chair of the union’s LGBT committee, also spoke about Unite’s commitment to equal rights.

    Last, but certainly not least, we heard from a speaker who in so many ways reminded me of Mark Ashton.

    Young, enthusiastic, ready to take on the world, Ellen Murray is aged just 22 but this trans woman activist stood for the Green Party in West Belfast in May’s Assembly poll, the first openly transgender candidate to stand in any election anywhere in Ireland.

    I know that Mark Ashton, like me, would be delighted that a new generation of activists are coming along to take up the struggle against prejudice and he would certainly have a chuckle to think they are honing their political skills in a training suite proudly bearing his name.



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