The partner of Lyra McKee has told how she is ‘heartbroken’ the woman she wanted to marry ‘isn’t here’ to see the Commons vote to introduce same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.
Sara Canning spoke to Channel 4 news following yesterday’s vote, which will come into effect if the assembly is not restored by October.
She told of her delight at the ‘momentous’ occasion, but admitted it was bittersweet.
“I’m torn between being absolutely over the moon for my friends who, hopefully, should this pass down the line, should be able to marry their partners and feel like an equal part of society.
“I’m also heartbroken because the person I wanted to marry isn’t here to see it happen and I know it was something that Lyra was very, very passionate about. She went to the marriage equality marches and she was excited about the future and about seeing it pass in Northern Ireland.”
Ms Canning had urged Prime Minister Theresa May, at Lyra’s funeral in April to press ahead with introducing same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland in the absence of devolution being up and running.
She told Channel 4 news’ Jackie Long how Northern Ireland has been without a working government for two and a half years and Westminster is ‘capable, clearly, of legislating on behalf of human rights and they’ve kicked the can down the road, because they know it would put people’s noses out of joint.”
She added: “I personally feel that the parties probably want Westminter to legislate for this because it actually gives them what they want. They can come back to their constituents and their backers and say: ‘It was taken out of our hands, look at London, swooping in, they’re devaluing devolution. What can we do?”
Ms Canning said Lyra, who was murdered on, was a strong campaigner for equal rights.
“I think Lyra would have been very, very excited. She was very much in favour of having equal rights with the rest of the UK. And, Northern Ireland has been left adrift for far too long. So, I feel that she would be very, very pleased. She would be super pleased for all of our friends who will hopefully be able to avail of equal marriage, which is huge.”
Ms Canning was also asked about her feelings on another vote, which would allow abortion in Northern Ireland.
She said she understood ‘everyone’s point of view, but just because it wouldn’t be your choice to have an abortion, it doesn’t mean that you can take that choice away from other people.”
Ms Canning said she did not believe Stormont will reconvene before October.
“This plays into their hands, this way they’re able to say Westminster overruled them.”