It has been three years since the momentous victory of the marriage equality referendum in the South of Ireland, and four years since The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was passed in England and Wales. Yet Northern Ireland is still waiting
In November, Australians voted to endorse same-sex marriage by 61.6%, putting the reluctant government under huge pressure to make it legal. As we go to press, the first same-sex marriages are now taking place. Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly isolated in denying this right, lagging behind Britain and the South.
There was a huge turnout with 79.5% of eligible participants returning their surveys. Of those, 61.6% voted ‘yes’, in favour of marriage equality! That is 7,817,247 people in support of equal rights!
A majority of DUP voters now support equal marriage. The DUP’s support is not primarily based on support for their fundamentalist agenda but – like Sinn Féin – upon being seen as the strongest voice for ‘their’ community. They are not impervious to pressure from below, as was reflected in the sacking of Jim Wells as Health Minister after making outrageous homophobic comments.