Causeway council to debate same sex marriage

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony McCaul.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony McCaul.

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The Limavady councillor behind a same sex marriage motion at the Causeway Coast and Glens council has described Northern Ireland as a “peculiar, backwards place”.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony McCaul brought the motion to a council meeting in Coleraine this week. It will be debated on August 18th.

The motion states: “That this council believes that all couples, including those of the same sex, should have the right to marry in the eyes of the law.”

Mr McCaul said: “The reason is Sinn Féin, in all the councils in the North, are putting these motions forward calling for support same sex marriage.

“I think it is unlikely that this will happen in the Causeway Coast and Glens. It is in legislation in the south but it is not in legislation here in the north.

“I would imagine some of the other parties are likely to be against it. We in Sinn Féin are certainly working towards it.

“We see it is a basic right for everyone and I think it is likely that it will be taken to court and those who support gay marriage will get that for the North.

“Same sex marriage is legal in Britain and it is legal in the south. We are a wee peculiar place stuck in the middle with backwards, outdated laws on same sex marriage.”

His party colleague Caoimhe Archibald, meanwhile, has also spoken in favour of the same sex marriage proposal submitted by Councillor McCaul.

Ms Archibald, Sinn Féin’s Westminster candidate for East Londonderry in the recent elections, said: “The motion submitted this evening by Councillor Tony McCaul in support of marriage equality will now pass to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee and be voted on at the committee meeting on the 18th August.

“Between now and then, I would urge people to lobby their councillors from all parties to support the motion. This is not a party political issue, it is an equality issue.

“The North of Ireland is now the only part of these islands where marriage is not available to all citizens regardless of sexual orientation, that is unacceptable.

“The Life and Times Survey in 2013 found that 59 per cent of people here support legislating in favour of equal same-sex marriage and only 29 per cent were against.

“Despite this, on three occasions motions brought before the Assembly by Sinn Féin supporting marriage equality, have been blocked by the DUP through a petition of concern. It is time that the legislators here reflected the opinions of the majority of citizens.

“That is why it is important for local councils to endorse such motions; it will increase the pressure on those with the power to legislate, to make equality for all a reality.”