Nesbitt changes his mind


Mike Nesbitt | Belfast Telegraph | 17059

Northern Ireland Assemblyman Mike Nesbitt was opposed to gay marriage. Not any more, it appears.

Today he appeared on BBC local radio. When asked “should gay people be able to get married”, he replied, “Yes, they should.”

He admitted he had “caused hurt” by not supporting gay marriage sooner. “There is someone in my circle of acquaintances who does not live in this country because they are gay and will never come back again. That’s wrong. I don’t want a Northern Ireland where people feel although they are born here they can no longer live here because they are gay.”

Gay Activist challenges the Northern Ireland Assembly to get cracking and introduce gay marriage as soon as possible. It is a measure which is long overdue.

DUP’s blocking of gay marriage hits the buffers after elections

Following the latest assembly election in Northern Ireland, unionists have lost their majority at Stormont for the first time ever. Most significantly for gay people, the DUP fell short of the 30 seats it needed to trigger a controversial ‘petition of concern’.

That is the mechanism which gives them a veto over issues such as gay marriage.

The DUP have wielded petitions of concern as an effective veto on progressive legislation. The Northern Irish Assembly has repeatedly voted to legalise same-sex marriage, but the motions have always been blocked by the socially conservative DUP.

Marriage equality campaigners are now hopeful that Northern Ireland will soon join the rest of Britain and the Republic of Ireland by legalising same-sex marriage.

The seats won by the parties are now: DUP: 29, Sinn Féin: 28, SDLP: 12, UUP: 10, Alliance Party: 8, Green Party: 2, Traditional Unionist Voice: 1, Independent: 1

Its time for gay marriage to arrive in Northern Ireland


Andy Allen | Paul McErlane/Guardian | 17048

Andy Allen, who represents Belfast East, a former soldier who lost both his legs and most of his sight in a Taliban bomb attack in Afghanistan, has pledged that if re-elected to the Northern Ireland assembly he will support moves towards same-sex marriage equality.

due to the opposition of the Democratic Unionist party and many of Allen’s party colleagues, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where LGBT couples cannot get married.

“I was elected to the last assembly only in May and I was the only mainstream unionist to vote for same-sex marriage. Whenever I realised it was coming forward I spent a great deal of time talking to people on both sides of the argument, including the gay community. I reached out to individuals from that community as well as religious organisations and faiths who robustly argued against it. But I found myself coming to a view of ‘live and let live’,” Mr Allen told reporters.

The cake is going to court again

The Christian bakers found to have unlawfully refused to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan are to press ahead with attempts to take their case to the Supreme Court. Lawyers for the McArthur family can now petition directly for a hearing in London after being formally refused leave to appeal by senior judges in Belfast.

Ashers’ Baking Company was also ordered to pay limited costs in the landmark legal dispute with customer Gareth Lee. Mr Lee had requested a cake depicting Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie below the motto ‘Support Gay Marriage’ for an event to mark International Day Against Homophobia. Management at the bakery refunded his money for the order because the message went against their Christian faith. The family insist their problem was with the cake and not the customer.

NI gay blood ban legal case ends

A gay man has failed in an attempt to have his legal challenge to the ban in Northern Ireland on homosexual blood donations examined by the UK’s most senior judges. NI’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood was lifted in September.

The Supreme Court refused the case because the matter was now “academic” and the application did not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance worthy of further consideration.

It brings to an end the four-year legal battle over blood donations from gay men in Northern Ireland.

Crumbs! The cake is going to appeal!


WND | 16492ga

The Christian owners of Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland say they are considering taking their case against the nation’s new mandate to promote homosexuality to the European Court of Human Rights.

Ashers Bakery was penalized by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland after its owners said they could not promote homosexuality on a cake demanded by a customer because it violated their faith. The bakery will now seek a change in the law to protect freedom of conscience, and is considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Jeffrey wants action

Jeffrey Dudgeon, who fought to get homosexuality legalised in Northern Ireland, branded the Northern Ireland government a disgrace over its failure to grant pardons to gay men convicted of obsolete crimes.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden said her ministry would consider the matter.

The Great British Bake Off

A Northern Ireland bakery run by Christian owners has lost their appeal over their refusal to make a “gay cake”. An appeal court has upheld the original court’s decision that Ashers discriminated against a gay man, Gareth Lee.

The family-run firm refused to make a cake with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” two years ago for Mr Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, who had ordered a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie with the phrase “Support Gay Marriage” for a private function marking the International Day Against Homophobia. He paid £36.50 for the cake at Ashers’ Belfast city centre branch but was telephoned two days later and told the company could not make it for him.

Daniel McArthur, the company’s general manager, insisted Mr Lee’s sexuality was never an issue, rather the message he wanted the bakery to create.

Ashers appeal was supported by The Christian Institute.

Northern Ireland gay blood ban “lifted”

Northern Ireland’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood is to be lifted on Thursday. Men whose last sexual contact with another man was more than 12 months ago will be free to donate blood so long as they meet the other donor criteria.

The change means Northern Ireland has come into line at last with England, Scotland and Wales.

Previously in Northern Ireland, any man who had sex with another man was banned from giving blood permanently.

It has taken them five years to catch up with the rest of the UK, where the rules were changed in 2011.

Same old lies again

South African preacher Angus Buchan claims that homosexuality can be cured through prayer. He is due to appear in Northern Ireland later this month, an event which is expected to attract an audience of 3,000 people.

John O’Doherty of the Rainbow Project is campaigning to have the visit cancelled.

Homosexuality can not be cured.