Gerry Carroll MLA, PBP, will present over 20,700 petition signatures to the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont this coming Tuesday 20th September.

The #EndTheVeto on equal marriage petition was started by The Gay Say earlier this year to challenge the undemocratic abuse of the “Petition of Concern” mechanism to block equal marriage legislation in Northern Ireland.

The ‘Petition of Concern’ mechanism was established to protect the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland but is being continually abused to deny a fundamental right to the LGBT community.

The campaign to ‘end the veto’ has already grown to become Northern Ireland’s largest online campaign for marriage equality.

Danny Toner, of The Gay Say, said:

“A huge amount of time and effort went into gathering the signatures so reaching the target of 20,000 was a great achievement. The amount of support and number of signatures only further highlights the urgent need for more progress on LGBT equality issues in Northern Ireland. People are growing increasingly frustrated by the ongoing failure to deliver equal civil rights for same-sex couples.”

“Following the repeated failure of the Assembly to legislate for marriage equality we decided that it was time for action. This is an issue that is not going to go away and support is growing. In June 2016, market research company IPSOS Mori estimated support for marriage equality to be as high as 70% within the general population.

“I would like to ask everyone who can make it to Stormont on Tuesday morning to come and show your support for marriage equality.”

Started only 7 months ago the campaign has already received massive amounts of local and international support with several high profile figures such as human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Marriage Equality Referendum 2015 campaigner Panti Bliss, the LGBT rights social media giant and ‘Frankie Goes to Hollywood’ lead singer Holly Johnston voicing their support.

Four previous motions failed to reach a majority in favour of Marriage Equality in the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, even if any of these motions did achieve a majority in favour, the DUP had implemented the “Petition of Concern” veto prior to each vote to ensure the result was a foregone conclusion. This was also the case with vote 5 in November 2015, but on this occasion the mechanism was officially enacted to veto a majority of politicians who voted in favour of the legislation.