Evening of events to mark marriage equality and abortion rights in NI on October 21
Alliance for Choice, Foyle Pride and Love Equality are hosting an evening of events this Monday, October 21 to ‘celebrate the long fought for victory of Marriage Equality and Abortion Reform in Northern Ireland.’
The groups have invited all who wish to join in the event to gather with them outside the Guildhall at 5.30pm.
The event will begin with a rally and banner drop at 5.30pm in Guildhall Square, followed by a reception in the Whittaker Suite for food, and spoken word. The evening will finish in Sandinos with a free music event, joined by local artists including Blackbird and Crow, Roe and a special DJ set by SOAK.
The groups say that ‘public support for both Marriage Equality and Abortion reform is evident in every Life and Times survey.’
They added while they have been disappointed by Stormont ‘and with some of our politicians blocking every attempt at progress and reform, we would also like to commend Derry City and Strabane District Council for passing a motion welcoming legislative change and recognising the hard work and commitment of activists in fighting for a more progressive, tolerant and equal society.’
If Stormont does not reconvene before October 21, Westminster will legislate for Equal Marriage and will repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act in order to decriminalise Abortion.
Declan Meehan, from Love Equality (the campaign for civil marriage equality in NI), said: “We have been campaigning for this day for years, and have watched as other parts of the UK, Ireland and Europe have all introduced marriage equality around us, leaving our citizens in Northern Ireland behind. That wait is now over.
“LGBTQ+ people will be able to marry the person they love, regardless of what gender they are, without having to travel outside of Northern Ireland.
“This legislation will extend the Westminster marriage equality act to Northern Ireland, effective from January, allowing couples to register their intent to marry.
“This means the first wedding ceremonies will take place on Valentine’s Day in 2020. This is a momentous day for Northern Ireland - not just for the LGBTQ+ community but for everyone. No- one is equal until we are all equal. .”
Dr Maeve O’Brien from Alliance for Choice added: “Decriminalisation is the first step in the process of ensuring that women in Northern Ireland can avail of free safe legal healthcare in their own communities, free from the trauma, stigma and expense of travel.
“Today and always we think of the four women per day who have been forced to travel and the countless private suffering that has been the result of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.
“Alliance for Choice Derry have campaigned for decades to decriminalise abortion.
“This victory is a victory for the women of the north and we stand with them.
“We look forward to the roll-out of information, provision and after-care for all who require it going forward.”