A Notice of Motion by Alliance Councillor Patrick Brown and Independent Councillor Kevin McAteer on equal marriage will go before the monthly Newry, Mourne and Down Council meeting tonight in Downpatrick.

Last years Pride in Newry supporting equal marriage. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Last years Pride in Newry supporting equal marriage. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The motion states ”That this Council believes that all couples in Newry, Mourne and Down, and across Northern Ireland, regardless of sexual orientation, should have the right to a civil marriage; that the rights of religious institutions to define, observe and practice marriage within their beliefs should be given legal protection; that faith groups which wish to marry same sex couples should not be prevented by the state from doing so; that all married couples of the same sex should have the same legal entitlement to the protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations and benefits afforded by the legal institution of marriage; and calls on the Minister of Finance and Personnel to introduce legislation to extend civil marriage provisions to same sex couples."

Unite the union, Newry has welcomed the motion.

Speaking on the issue Unite equality officer Damian McShane said “We at unite fully support this motion and view it as a major step towards equality in the district. We would like to thank our local Independent Councillor and Unite activist Kevin McAteer for raising the motion and his continued support for the LGBT community. 

“Unite calls on all Councillors to fully back this motion and take influence from similar motions that have been passed in councils across Northern Ireland recently. 2015 has been a momentous year for the LGBT community right across the world. Countries are starting to wake up in relation to equality rights from Ireland to the United States equal marriage has become law.

“If passed it will see Newry, Mourne and Down District Council support equal marriage and call on the Northern Ireland assembly to come out of the dark ages. Currently Northern Ireland is the only region in Western Europe that has an antiquated view in relation to marriage equality.”

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