Public Petition: End the Veto on Marriage Equality

Mr Speaker: Mr Gerry Carroll has sought leave to present a public petition in accordance with Standing Order 22. The Member will have up to three minutes to speak on the matter.

Mr Carroll: I am absolutely proud to present this petition to the Assembly on behalf of the 20,000 people who signed The Gay Say’s online petition. The petition was a response to the DUP’s move to veto marriage equality in November 2015, which was deeply upsetting for the thousands of people here whose rights are being denied. The signatures represent the feeling of the vast majority of people across society here that the DUP should end its veto on marriage equality, allow democracy to take its course and allow the Assembly to legislate for same-sex marriage.

While presenting the petition, I say this to the DUP: you are on the wrong side of history; you are on the wrong side of the fight for equality. History will not be kind to those who block progress and human rights. History will not be kind to those who block equality and deny rights to our LGBT brothers and sisters.

The petition is a small but significant token of the groundswell of support amongst ordinary people for equality in our society. I say to those people: do not lose hope, keep marching, keep protesting and keep up the fight. What Stormont does, the people can undo. If we keep doing what we are doing, the sun will one day set on the deniers of equality, and the rainbow will rise.

Mr Carroll moved forward and laid the petition on the Table.

Mr Speaker: I will send a copy of the petition to the Minister and to the Committee.