Alliance councillor Patrick Brown has tabled a motion for July’s Newry Mourne and Down District Council meeting that, if passed, would see the new supercouncil call upon the Northern Ireland Executive to introduce legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The motion, seconded by Independent Newry councillor Kevin McAteer, follows the landmark ‘yes’ vote which legalised same-sex marriage by referendum in the South of Ireland. It also follows a successful Alliance Party motion at Belfast City Council endorsing same-sex marriage.
If passed, it would see the council call upon the Northern Ireland Executive to introduce legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.
Councillor Brown, who attended the equal marriage rally in Belfast with members of the Alliance Party, a rally organised by the ICTU, Amnesty International and the Rainbow Coalition, said he believes this motion presents the new Council with an opportunity to lead progressive change in Northern Ireland. He said: “Adults in a loving relationship should have full access to the institution of marriage. Anything else is discrimination, and I want to live in a shared Northern Ireland led by principles of tolerance and respect.
“The failure of Stormont to deliver leadership on this issue means that the eleven new super councils have both an opportunity and a duty to champion equal civil marriage at the local level”.
Councillor Kevin McAteer, who will second Cllr Brown’s motion, also speaking at the rally in Belfast last Saturday, said that he was very impressed at the thousands who had turned up to support equal marriage rights and added: “I hope this level of support continues to grow for this cause and that it reaches the Councils and the Assembly.
“I am looking forward to debating this issue in the chamber of Newry Mourne and Down District Council on the 6 July.”