Call for a Northern Ireland Referendum on Marriage Equality
This petition had 19,459 supporters
For over thirty years this little country has been plagued by bitter, bigoted, sectarian issues that even today are still (unfortunately) finding roots. Thankfully in today's society this is a considerable minority as most of the inhabitants here want to move beyond to a bright and prosperous Northern Ireland where everyone is treated with respect, dignity and equality.
This is not a political issue. This is not "orange and green". This is simply about people who love one another so much that they would like to spend the rest of their lives together. Some may ask why they need to get married - can't they just live together and share their life together or even get civil partnered? Won't this change the definition of marriage? There are a number of points on this but I have highlighted some below:
1) Civil Partnership does not provide the same protections to a spouse that Civil Marriage would. It is not the same thing.
2) Marriage is something that everyone contemplates growing up. By not allowing LGBT people access to this they are being treated like second-class citizens; unworthy of the same legal standing as heterosexual couples. This in turn tells young people that it is wrong to be LGBT and therefore encourages a negative environment in which they feel they are abnormal and there is something wrong with them. This can have serious ramifications on mental health and physical wellbeing.
3) Why shouldn't they have the opportunity to get married the same as heterosexual couples? LGBT couples should be able to live life the same as heterosexual couples, make similar plans.
4) Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that does not have equal marriage legislation in place.
5) The Republic of Ireland will vote through referendum to accept or reject equal marriage legislation. Polls currently indicate that equal marriage will pass in the ROI referendum.
6) Civil Marriage will not change the definition of marriage to the detriment of what it currently represents. If we really look at what marriage is about then there is no reason to exclude LGBT people. The very essence of marriage is about love. Love between two people that want to spend the rest of their life together. Religious institutions will not be forced to provide same-sex ceremonies. Churches, mosques, temples etc will not be used for services celebrating same-sex ceremonies unless welcomed by that institution/organisation. Various protections will be built into equal marriage legislation for religious institutions/organisations.
You have the power to effect change in Northern Ireland. You have the ability right now to show your support to not only your LGBT family and friends but to all LGBT people throughout Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. You can send a message to Europe and the rest of the world that Northern Ireland is not the backward, bigoted, sectarian, "stuck in the past" country that we are perceived to be but instead a nation of people that will stand up for what's right, stand up for equality, support one another and welcome all people of difference to our shore. Let's show our politicians that it's not up to them, we the people demand to be heard!
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