Out of all of the regions in the UK, Northern Ireland is the only one that does not recognize same-sex marriage. This may change, however, as many people gathered in Belfast on Saturday to demand recognition of it, according to NBC.
Sara Canning, a journalist and LGBTQ activist, is the woman leading the march. In addition to her being a journalist and activist, she was also the partner of lesbian writer Lyra McKee, who was tragically shot to death in April of this year. She and Canning were planning on marrying. While saddening, it is also inspiring to know that Canning is still willing to fight for what’s right regardless of the risks in doing so.
Her reasoning for fighting for marriage equality is that LGBTQ people pay the same taxes and are governed by the same rules as straight people, so it stands to reason that they would be afforded the same right to marry as anyone else. By denying one specific group of people a certain right, the government of Northern Ireland is treating LGBTQ people like second-class citizens.
The attempts to have same-sex marriage have been blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party, an ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May, although opinions polls have shown that most people in Northern Ireland are in favor of marriage equality. Because of this, activists have called on May to bypass the DUP and introduce pro-LGBTQ legislation in Westminster.
Although it might not seem like it at times, people generally want to do the right thing. Not getting too deep into moral relativism, it appears that most people in Northern Ireland want to do what’s right and will continue to fight for marriage equality because they believe that it’s the right thing to do. I’m inclined to agree with them.