Eastwood hails MPs who voted for gay marriage

Derry MP Colum Eastwood has praised MPs in Britain who backed marriage equality in the North and has called for the continuation of funding for a support group for gay women in Belfast.

Mr. Eastwood raised the case of HEReNI during an intervention at Westminster.

“I want to thank every single member who did the work that could not be done in NI to ensure that our brothers and sisters were entitled to full equality where they had been denied it for far too long. One of the groups at the forefront of that campaign and of our work in particular with lesbian and bisexual women in NI was HEReNI, but it is about to have its funding cut,” he said.

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He asked Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell, who raised lesbian, bisexual and trans women’s health inequalities on Tuesday, if she agreed that the NIO and Executive should do “everything in their power to protect that vital service”.

“One of the key things it does is look after the mental health of lesbian people in NI. It cannot be allowed to happen,” said Mr. Eastwood.

Ms. Bardell said: “I was proud to vote for equal marriage in NI and for abortion reform. I will not lie: it was a strange position to be in. I abstained several times to give Stormont the opportunity to get back up and running, but I was always clear that if it did not, and that if people there wanted it to happen, there would be no other option, so I was very proud to support that legislation and to see that happen. I pay tribute, as he does, to the many people who fought hard to make it happen. The thought that funding would be pulled is hugely concerning, so I agree with everything he said on that front.”