Support Religious Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland

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Support Religious Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland

This petition made change with 284 supporters!
Steve Ames started this petition to Northern Ireland Office

Since the deadline of 29 October 2019 has passed, the Northern Ireland Office is now legally required to “extend same sex marriage to Northern Ireland by 13 January 2020”.  Despite this, a decision has been taken to extend these rights only to those entering into “civil” marriages by this date, i.e. marriages performed by civil registrars or by humanist celebrants. This means that same sex couples wishing to be married by their church representative, or to have prayers, bible readings, blessings or hymns as part of their wedding ceremony, will be arbitrarily prevented from doing so for potentially many more months.

Even though the deadline for marriage equality in Northern Ireland is clearly set for 13 January 2020, the GOV.UK website now says this deadline will not apply to religious marriages, and that it only has the "intention of making regulations to enable religious same sex marriage in Northern Ireland in 2020".

So whilst it has been widely reported that many same sex couples in Northern Ireland will be rightly celebrating humanist and civil marriages on valentines day next year, I wonder how many of us realise that same sex couples of faith will be relegated to the margins once again - still waiting their turn for equality.

As one of a number of faith communities that supports Marriage Equality, we are aggrieved to hear that same-sex couples will not be afforded the same rights to marry in a religious ceremony as those wishing to marry in a humanist or civil one by 13 January 2020. Furthermore, it is outrageous that our celebrants will not have the same opportunity to perform same sex marriages as humanists celebrants and civil registrars. This is clearly not within the spirit or even the letter of the Conor McGinn and Stella Creasy amendments, which call for complete marriage equality and not just partial marriage equality to be extended to Northern Ireland by 13 January 2020.

Equality should mean equality for everyone, with no one left behind. We therefore call on the Northern Ireland Office to ensure that the Northern Ireland Act is implemented without delay and without religious discrimination, so that everyone has access to marriage equality by 13 January 2020.

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This petition made change with 284 supporters!

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