Today we are glad to welcome the Alliance Party to the cause of marriage equality here in Northern Ireland. When Belfast City Council was the first to debate this issue they were behind the curve and caught on the hop, but after completing a consultation with members today they passed the following motion.
“That, in line with Alliance’s core commitment to equality and to freedom of religion, party council supports the extension of civil marriage provisions to same sex couples, provided that robust protections are provided through legislation to ensure that faith groups and religious celebrants will not be forced to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies or to have them conducted on their premises.
“In recognition of the importance of freedom of religion, Alliance further believes that faith groups which, in conscience, wish to marry same sex couples should not be prevented by the state from doing so.
“We would also support the extension of the authority to solemnise marriages to accredited humanist celebrants, which cannot currently do so.”
This is very close to the policy that Lib Dems have had in position for a couple of years now. Although the addition of robust protection is obviously to appease the Northern Irish churches.
Now along with Sinn Féin, Green Party, Labour Party in Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats there is a stronger voice from our parties for fairness and end the discrimination that equal but different civil partnerships brought about.