Northern Ireland Hub




Challenge To Northern Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Launched - VIDEO

Gay marriage ban northern ireland

Gay rights campaigners in Northern Ireland are preparing a challenge to the legitimacy of the province’s ban on same-sex marriage, reports Buzzfeed.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where gay marriage remains illegal. Politicians at the Northern Irish Assembly have rejected motions calling for same-sex marriage on three occasions, most recently in April. This has been due in part to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) invoking a “petition of concern” to effectively veto any vote on the issue. Petitions of concern were designed to ensure no laws were passed exclusively by politicians representing either the nationalist or unionist communities. 

According to Gavin Boyd of activist group the Rainbow Project, preparations are underway for a test case challenging the status of same-sex couples who marry elsewhere in the UK but are not considered to be married when they travel to Northern Ireland.

“The legal challenge as it is planned involves two people who were lawfully married in England returning home to Northern Ireland, where they are no longer considered to be married. We consider that to be unlawful, unjust, and unjustifiable.”

Watch a report on last April's vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, is due to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage early next year.

Continue reading "Challenge To Northern Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Launched - VIDEO" »


Irish Bakery Faces Possible Legal Action Over Refusal to Make Bert and Ernie Gay Marriage Cake: VIDEO

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The Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to make a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie under the words "Support Gay Marriage" has been ordered to apologize and pay compensation or face legal action, The Telegraph reports

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 9.46.41 AMAshers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, was told by a Government equalities agency that it was guilty of “unlawful religious, political and sexual orientation discrimination” for its stance on the Sesame Street-themed dessert.

But the family-run firm said it was ready for a “David and Goliath battle” over the cake insisting it was “what God would want us to do”. [...]

Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, which is supporting the firm, said: “It is simply baffling for a body supposedly working for equality to be threatening a Christian family with legal action, all because of a cake.

“The Equality Commission has taken four months to dream up new grounds on which to pursue the McArthur family, claiming that they’ve breached political discrimination laws.

“If supporting same-sex marriage is a protected political opinion, so is supporting traditional marriage. Yet the Commission clearly favours one view over another and is prepared to litigate to prove it.

Northern Ireland remains the only part of the U.K. where same-sex marriage is not legal.

Watch a video featuring bakery's general manager speak about the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Irish Bakery Faces Possible Legal Action Over Refusal to Make Bert and Ernie Gay Marriage Cake: VIDEO" »


Northern Ireland Health Minister Blocks LGBT, Womens' Rights Groups On Twitter

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Northern Ireland’s new Health Minister, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member Jim Wells, has taken to blocking critics on Twitter, reports Pink News.

Appointed to the post on Tuesday, Wells replaces Edwin Poots (DUP) who has opposed same-sex marriage and refused to lift the country’s ban on gay men donating blood. Blocked from twitter by Jim Wells

Wells has previously said that he finds Pride “repugnant” and has refused to take part in gay rights debates.

In 2011, he told Belfast Pride:

“I find the behaviour of those who take part in this march repugnant. I do not wish to be associated in any way with this event. My position on this will not change in the future and I would politely suggest that any further requests of this nature will be a total waste of your time.”

According to Pink News, although their official Twitter account has been blocked, Wells has yet to give them a reason for doing so.

A hashtag #BlockedByWells has sprung up among users targeted by the Minister, including women’s rights activists groups, gay rights advocates and gay Christian group @FaithAndPride.

Yesterday, Wells took to Twitter to praise Edwin Poots' time in office as Health Minister.


60 Percent Say Irish Baker Who Refused To Make Cake Supporting Gay Marriage Should Not Face Legal Action

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A ComRes poll commissioned by the Christian Institute shows that 60% of respondents think no legal action should be taken against a bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to make a cake for an LGBTI activist group, reports Pink News.

Earlier this month we reported that Ashers Baking Company refused an order for a cake which was to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and wrote to Ashers asking that it remedy the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

However, the Christian Institute poll shows that 60% do not approve of legal action against the bakery.  Additionally, 80% of those polled over the aged of 65 disagree with legal action.

In a similar ongoing case in Colorado, Denver baker Jack Phillips has appealed an order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission requiring him to prepare wedding cakes for same-sex couples. Phillips said that although he has no problem with LGBTI people, he disagrees with same-sex marriage.  He has also stated that he would rather close down his business than make cakes for same-sex weddings.


Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Ashers bakery norhern ireland refuses order for cake

A bakery in Northern Ireland could face legal action from The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for refusing to take an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage.”

Based in Newtownabbey, Ashers was named after a verse from the Bible, which refers to "Bread from Asher,” reports RTE.

LGBT activist Gareth Lee asked for the cake, ordered to help mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Speaking to RTE, Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur said:

"I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that."

The Christian Institute, which is supporting Ashers because “the case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs,” said:

“When the order came through to the head office, the manager and directors decided to decline the request on conscience grounds, and offered a full refund.”

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland says that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and has written to Ashers asking that it remedies the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. where same-sex marriage remains illegal.

Last May, The Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected a Denver-area bakery’s appeal of an earlier ruling that bakery owner Jack Phillips “unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."

Watch a video released by Ashers in which they comment on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Northern Ireland Rejects Marriage Equality Bill in 51-43 Vote

Northern Ireland's assembly has blocked a marriage equality bill, the Guardian reports:

NorthernirelandA Sinn Féin motion to bring in gay marriage to Northern Ireland was defeated by 51 votes to 43. It was the third time in the past 18 months that Stormont has rejected same-sex marriage. But the human rights organisation said those who had used their veto in the assembly were "like latter-day King Canutes, trying in vain to hold back the tide of equality".

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty's programme director in Northern Ireland, said: "States may not discriminate with regards to the right to marry and found a family on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"That obligation is clear in international law. This means that marriage should be available to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland, just as it is now in England and Wales and will shortly be in Scotland."


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