There’s only one way to fix a broken record

Are you not broke for us? Us people of Northern Ireland. Us people who are trying to show the world this is a lovely place to live and we’re all lovely and welcoming and the very best of craic.

We have our tourist board going buck daft telling people we’re a wee undiscovered gem which offers everything from relaxing breaks to the best night life.

We even have one of the most successful TV shows of all time filmed in some of our most scenic locations.

We’re doing well - all things considered. Fifteen years ago, even ten years ago, it would have been hard to envisage a country so transformed. I’m proud when I tell my children of how far we have come.

And then - to my shame - and to our national shame - the shower of eejits sitting in Stormont vote once again against the legalisation of same sex marriage.

And there are those - those in power, those who want to be in power, those who would lead - who insult a section of our community. They make grossly offensive, factually inaccurate “statements” about the risk of abuse to children raised by homosexuals. They call for the re-criminalisation of homosexuality, they insist that loving someone of the same sex is an abomination.

It makes me sad and it makes me actually cringe with embarrassment for this country where we allow the minority of the people to dictate to us who we can love and who we can marry. And we are talking about consenting adults here - people who have the right to be who they are and who are hurting no-one.

Forty nine of our MLAs voted against same sex marriage during this fourth attempt to get the bill through our Assembly. Forty nine of our MLAs are presumably so aggrieved by the legalisation of marriage between a consenting couple who want to commit to their lives to each other.

Their hatred makes me feel physically sick.

Their hatred and their intolerance is more offensive to me than any relationship between consenting adults could be.

We need a referendum. We need one fast. We need to stop putting bigots in seats of power and expecting change.

Shame on those who voted no. Shame on those who don’t believe in freedom, in love and in equality.

There is nothing good or Christian in your actions.

It’s time to let the people of Northern Ireland decide for ourselves.