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Gay marriage vote in Northern Ireland

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email, Northern Ireland Assembly, gay rights, civil marriage, vote, 2 NovemberIf just two MLAs change their minds, the discrimination can end.

When it comes to gay rights, Northern Ireland has been left behind: it is the only part of the UK where same-sex couples are denied the right to get married.

But on 2 November the Northern Ireland Assembly will be holding a vote that could mean a move closer to equality throughout the UK.

Belfast has been left behind by London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Cardiff; Northern Ireland is now alone in not enabling same-sex couples to get married.

And the government also refuses to recognise such marriages conducted elsewhere.

Ultimately, this means that lesbian and gay couples in Northern Ireland are being discriminated against.

The law in Northern Ireland must be changed to allow civil marriage for same-sex couples – and on 2 November the Northern Ireland Assembly will debate and vote on marriage equality.

The last time they did this, it lost by just two votes.

Amnesty International has joined up with The Rainbow Project, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, HereNI and NUS-USI to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

If we can make just two MLAs change their minds, we can end this discrimination.

So if you write to your MLA in support of gay marriage, you could help.

Although the vote for equality hasn’t yet had a majority in the Assembly, it does have overwhelming support among the population of Northern Ireland: an Ipsos MORI poll from July 2015 showed that 68 per cent supported same-sex marriage, with just 28 per cent against.

And this wasn’t just in one section of society: there was clear majority support among both men and women, from both Catholic and Protestant community backgrounds and in all urban and rural areas of Northern Ireland.

Meaning ‘no’ voting politicians are not in touch with popular opinion.

They need to get up to speed and support gay rights and vote for civil marriage equality.

Civil marriage equality is access to civil marriage for any two people regardless of their gender.

Civil marriage is different and distinct from religious marriage: it is a state-recognised legal contract between spouses, via signing the civil marriage register. It takes place in a registry office or other non-religious venue.

Churches and other places of worship will be able to continue with religious ceremonies and will not be required to conduct wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. These rights would be protected by law.

Allowing lesbian and gay people to get married will have no effect on anyone else’s marriage.

It is time for Northern Ireland’s politicians to vote for equality for all citizens.

Let Northern Ireland’s political leaders know you stand for equality – and demand they vote to allow gay marriage on 2 November.

Take action: email Assembly ministers or your own MLA.

You could also do so by using our campaign’s email manoeuvre.

And ask your friends and family.

Thanks.

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