#NorthIreland

Online Trolls Say Belfast Primark Fire Was Caused By God's Wrath Against Gays

 

Homophobes and the religious intolerant are using a recent fire to spread homophobic rhetoric.

On Tuesday (August 29), a sudden blaze broke out at the Primark building in Belfast, North Ireland. The 233-year-old building went up in smoke, but 80 firefights fought to make sure that the fire didn’t spread to any other buildings, according to Metro.

While the building didn’t entirely burn down, experts are currently investigating what caused the fire and if the building’s structure is damaged beyond repair.

As that is going on, homophobes have already taken to the internet to use this as an excuse to share hateful words. How do they figure the fire is in anyway related to LGBTQ people? One store window included Pride merchandise.

“Primark in Belfast up in flames,” wrote one person in a now deleted Twitter post, “Galatians 6:7 comes to mind… ‘Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’”

“@Primark supported wickedness via it’s shop window a few weeks ago in Belfast,” wrote another.

A third remarked, “Reminds me of our Trinitarian God who burnt not just a shop, but a whole city to a crisp.’”

In response to all this, the Northern Ireland Humanists group released the following statement:

“We have already noticed comments like ‘you reap what you sow’ in response to the Primark Belfast building having an extremely destructive fire.”

“This is because Primark had created a rainbow window presentation in support of Pride Belfast this year. ‘We know this is not the feelings of most Christians, but we would ask you, religious or not, to call out this homophobic rhetoric where you find it.”

“We hope those employed by “Primark are being helped while out of work. And we also hope the building will be rebuilt as it is one of Belfast’s most beautiful.”

h/t: Metro

North Irish Gay Couples Watched The Royal Wedding While Wishing "It Was Them Tying The Knot"

In the wake of the royal wedding, North Irish men are wondering when it’ll be their turn to marry.

Thousands of North Irish citizens are preparing to participate in a march and rally for marriage equality on June 2. One such couple is William Dalzell and Stephen Donnan.

Dalzell and Donnan watched the Royal Wedding yesterday with mixed emotions. On one hand, they were excited for the British social event, but they also felt a sense of sorrow.

Northern Ireland’s law still prevents gay marriage, so couples like Dalzell and Donnan are left wishing that they could get married.

“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.”

Like many gay men living in Northern Ireland, the couple is asking the UK Government to convince the country to match its laws with the rest of the UK. So far, Prime Minister Theresa May says this is an issue for Northern Irish folk to figure out by themselves.

North Ireland’s politicians, however aren’t doing much to help. Despite public polls finding that 76% of citizens are in favor of marriage equality, a Conservative politician blocked the second reading of a Bill that could have brought in same-sex marriage.

Dalzell and Donnan were disappointed by this development.

“The only government we have now is in Westminster - yet Theresa May and Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley are refusing to intervene to end the discrimination.

“When one of their own backbenchers blocked the equal marriage bill last week in the Commons, that was like rubbing salt into our wounds.

“We will march and protest and petition until we have the same right to get married as Meghan and Harry.

“And that’s why we will be joining the big march for marriage equality in Belfast in two weeks – we want to send a clear message to Theresa May and Karen Bradley that we want equality.”

h/t: Belfast Live

A Gay Couple Fights North Ireland To Recognize Their Marriage

A gay couple is fighting for their right to be recognized as a married couple.

The couple, who wish to remain anonymous and are thus being referred to as X and his husband, got married in London in 2014. Problem is, their native Northern Ireland only recognizes their union as a civil partnership. As such, they’ve decided to take it to court.

At the center of this issue is the question of whether North Ireland should recognize a same-sex marriage performed elsewhere in the UK even though Northern Ireland hasn’t legalized gay marriage. On top of that, the couple also wants to keep the right of being recognized as married by the rest of the UK too.

X’s lawyer Karen Quinlivan claims that any straight couple that married in England would have that marriage recognized by Northern Ireland upon their return. As such, denying a gay man the same right is “derogatory and undermines his marriage.”

X’s lawyers also say that several civil rights have been violated such as the rights to privacy and family life, religious freedom, and entitlement to marry under the European Convention on Human Rights.

That said, they insist that their argument and issue is different and separate from the ongoing discussion of whether Northern Ireland should legalize marriage equality.

They say their issue focuses on downgrading a marriage that’s recognized in England, Wales, and Scotland to a civil partnership, which counts as an unlawful interference.

As The Times reports, the couple were first dismayed that a High Court judge initially dismissed their case last year. The judge said that its up to the government to provide same-sex marriage rights and not the judicial court system.

Despite that initial setback, the couple are taking the issue to the Court of Appeal as they continue to fight for a declaration that their marriage remains a fully recognized marriage.