20,000 LGBT campaigners urge end of 'abuse' of petition of concern

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LGBT rights campaigners say the DUP need to stop vetoing marriage equality legislation.

Twenty thousand signatures against the use of a petition of concern have been handed in to the Northern Ireland Assembly by People Before Profit's Gerry Carroll.

Commenting on the petition, the MLA said:

"These 20,000 signatures are just a small sample of the groundswell of support for equal marriage in NI.

"For too long our LGBT+ friends, family and comrades have suffered discrimination under the current outdated and backward law, which denies people here the same rights afforded to people in the rest of the UK. It’s about time that is rectified. In fact, it's long overdue.'" he said.

Danny Toner, of The Gay Say, said:

"A huge amount of time and effort went into gathering the signatures so reaching the target of 20,000 was a great achievement. The amount of support and number of signatures only further highlights the urgent need for more progress on LGBT equality issues in Northern Ireland.

"People are growing increasingly frustrated by the ongoing failure to deliver equal civil rights for same-sex couples.".

Politicians voted in favour of backing a change in the law last year.

However, using peace process powers, the DUP stopped it going through.

Speaking to The Gay Say at the weekend, human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell said: "Congratulations on this magnificent petition. It reflects and reinforces the two-thirds northern Irish public support for same-sex marriage.

"By ignoring the majority will and blocking the right of LGBT couples to marry, the DUP is subverting democracy. The time has come for the DUP to end its four decades of opposition to LGBT equality."

Four previous motions failed to reach a majority in favour of Marriage Equality in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The DUP had implemented the “Petition of Concern” veto prior to each vote to ensure the result was a foregone conclusion regardless.

This occasion the mechanism was officially enacted to veto a majority of politicians who voted in favour of the legislation.

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