Northern Ireland Hub




Ireland's Former Equality Minister Pat Carey Comes Out As Gay

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Pat Carey, the former minister of Ireland’s center-right party Fianna Fáil has come at as gay. Carey was appointed as a parliamentary member and the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in 1997. According to Carey his decision to reveal his sexuality to the public was inspired by Leo Varadkar who currently serves as Ireland’s health minister and came out earlier this year.

“When I look back it’s an awful pity I didn’t feel able to do that. Nobody stopped me, but I wasn’t sure how it would be received,” Carey told the Irish Times. “I never had the confidence or the courage to do it, and it gets to a stage where you probably say to yourself ‘it’s too late for me to start talking about it now.”

Carey’s is the latest in a series of high-profile Irish public figures coming out at a critical time for LGBT rights in Ireland. The country is set to vote on the future of marriage equality later on this year in a nationwide referendum. Despite the outpouring of support from Irish celebrities and clergy members alike, those in favor of gay marriage for Ireland are still concerned at the idea of the LGBT minority’s rights being put up for popular vote.


Northern Ireland Couple Challenges Ban On Same-Sex Marriage: VIDEO

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A gay couple is to present a legal challenge to the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, reports Pink News.

Northern Ireland is now the only part of the United Kingdom that does not allow same-sex marriage.

The couple behind the legal challenge married in England but live in Northern Ireland. It is alleged that failure to recognise the marriage infringes on their rights.

The couple has been granted an anonymity order and is backed by gay rights activist group the Rainbow Project.

Rainbow Project director John O’Doherty said:

“While same-sex marriage legislation in Westminster had many positive aspects, we believe that its provision forbidding the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland is irrational, contrary to principles of British constitutional law and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“We are resolute in our assertion that no-one can be married in one part of the United Kingdom and then not married in another.

“Once a couple is lawfully married in the UK, we contend that their relationship cannot be reclassified as a civil partnership without their consent which is exactly what the law currently does.

“The legislation says to lawfully married people that they are no longer married. This is unconscionable and cannot be permitted to continue."

The province’s governing Democratic Unionist Party remains strongly opposed to gay rights and has blocked a series of attempts to bring in gay marriage.

Watch a report on the Northern Ireland Assembly's latest rejection of same-sex marriage last April, AFTER THE JUMP...

The first same-sex marriages took place in Scotland at the end of last month.

Continue reading "Northern Ireland Couple Challenges Ban On Same-Sex Marriage: VIDEO" »


Gay Couple of 49 Years Among First to Convert Civil Partnership to Marriage in England

A gay couple together for almost 49 years were among the first to be married under new laws in England allowing civil partnerships to be converted to marriage, reports LogoTV.

Roger192Roger Lockyer (87) and Percy Steven (75) were among the first couples in England to enter into a civil partnership in 2005.

Lockyer said:

“To me, it feels like reaching the top. We really are married. Which is what we have been for nearly half a century of course. But to have formal recognition of that I think is something that’s so unexpected and wonderful.”

Steven said that he is most looking forward to finally joining the couple’s utility accounts because he can now “ask for an account in both names.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in Scotland on Tuesday.  Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK where gay marriage remains illegal.


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

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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.


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