Eastwood welcomes progress on Equal Marriage for north of Ireland

Colum Eastwood
Colum Eastwood

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has welcomed progress on enshrining equal marriage in law for the north of Ireland.

The Foyle MLA was commenting as Labour MP Conor McGinn successfully passed the first stage of a bill at Westminster for same-sex marriage to be made legal in Northern Ireland.

Mr Eastwood said: “The passage of the first step towards delivering equal marriage to Northern Ireland is absolutely fantastic news.

“It is however truly shameful that we are not making this legislation here. After well over a year without Government, people right across the North will be asking themselves why they have been left powerless to deliver any change and why we are now in a position where all our power has been given to the DUP and Tory Government.

“I am however delighted after working closely with my colleague Conor McGinn MP in our sister party – that we are on the right road to finally delivering equality to for all our LGBT brothers and sisters.

“I want to be very clear – the SDLP and indeed the people of Northern Ireland support equal marriage. We support an inclusive, equal future, free from discrimination and intolerance.

“I had previously proposed the first motion to gain a majority but the DUP used the petition of concern to block progress. Also having secured support from most parties in the last Assembly it was the SDLP’s Alex Attwood that was tabling a bill to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland on the day Sinn Fein collapsed power sharing.

“Let’s hope that our ambition for equality is not prevented again by others – and that all MPs use their vote in Westminster to stand up for equality and respect – not just chant slogans. The SDLP would prefer that equality was delivered here on Irish soil – but unlike others – we always have said – that Westminster matters and you can bring about change.”