Fighting for marriage equality in the north


éirígí party banner, with the Starry Plough, the symbol of the revolutionary working class, in rainbow colours: Belfast equal marriage rights demo, June 13.

It used to be that the south was seen as a conservative backwater and the north as more socially progressive, part of ‘modern Britain’.  This was never really true as progressive legislation passed in the British parliament was not extended to the six counties if it offended reactionary Unionism.  Attempts to extend the 1967 British reforms on abortion and homosexuality to the six counties were met with virulent opposition by Unionists, most famously Ian Paisley’s ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ campaign of 1977.

Today, of course, the twenty-six county state, despite its neo-colonial structure, has moved ahead of the north.  Instead of allowing a public referendum on gay marriage rights, at Stormont the conservatives have managed to keep then issue tied up in a parliamentary vote.  Shortly before the 26-county electorate voted decisively for equal marriage rights for gay couples, Stormont saw the narrow defeat of  a Sinn Fein bill for the same rights in the north.

One of the most interesting things about the gay marriage issue is that public support for the right of gay couples to equal access to marriage is pretty much the same on both sides of the border.  Another indication of how, in many ways, the populations of ‘north’ and ‘south’ are becoming more and more alike, while the British-imposed border tries to force them to be separate and different – and antagonistic.


Posted on July 5, 2015, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, Democratic rights - general, Public events - Ireland. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Fighting for marriage equality in the north.

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