Second Class LGBT Citizens once Again

With the Westminster Government announcing its consultation into equal marriage, and the Scottish Parliament currently considering the responses to its similar consultation, once again two speed UK leaves those of us who are LGBT behind in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where gay couples cannot adopt.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where men who have had sex with men cannot give blood after 12 months of no MSM sex but ever.

And now Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where there is no consultation, or apparently even active consideration of marriage equality.

We have a First Minister who is Unionist, yet his party the DUP drag their heels on equality issues when it comes to LGBT community. Yet they shouldn’t do as sexual orientation is one of the diversity groups that was enshrined in the Northern Ireland Act. Of course the fact that one of the last groups from Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act to get their own strategy, yet to be published but promised this year, is LGBT. We have one future minister even saying that those that take part in Belfast Pride to point out that we are treated as second class citizens considers us repugnant.

We have a Sinn Féin deputy First Minister whose party while sympathetic to the needs of the LGBT community have it way down their agenda. Though their Lord Mayor did take his place at the front of the Belfast Pride parade as it walked around city hall last year.

Members of the UUP, SDLP and Alliance have all be very much supporters of the LGBT Community and senior members of all three have been seen at Belfast Pride events, not just the political discussions but at the parade itself.

As far as I know, and I will happily be corrected on this, there are only two parties with an active LGBT group in Northern Ireland the Greens and ourselves. That gives a total of one MLA representing a party that has an LGBT group within it asking the questions of why as British subjects we are lagging on LGBT equality when under direct rule we were actually at the forefront.

There was a debate on the Stephen Nolan show this Monday, following the letter to the Catholic Churches in England and Wales, on the subject of equal marriage. What came across was the anger at the vast majority of religious people who called in to the show, compared to the relative calm of those in support of equal marriage (not all of them LGBT).

Maybe for the sake of the collective blood pressure of the literalists of selective verses in the Law of Moses while they happily admit Jesus did away with a vast majority of the rest, the NI Assembly should start a consultation, let everyone have their say, they carry out their impact analysis on the various Section 75 groups on the results they get.

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Filed under Equal Marriage, equality, NI Assembly

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