I read with surprise the assertion by Councillor John Finlay (November 5) that there is no overwhelming support for same sex marriage.
Consistently polls carried out by the Belfast Telegraph, RTE/BBC, IPSOS MORI and others have shown majority support for equal marriage in Northern Ireland from both Catholics and Protestants.
Cllr Finlay notes the large number of contacts elected representatives have had in support of equal marriage and limited numbers in opposition further indicating that this is a change the people of Northern Ireland support.
I agree that this issue is “of such huge significance that it really should have the support of both communities” and it does, just not in line with Cllr Finlay’s opinion.
This summer past, 20,000 people took to the streets of Belfast to call on the Northern Ireland Assembly to legislate for same sex marriage in line with the rest of the UK and following the recent Irish referendum.
Despite a majority vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly it remains that many of our elected representatives are on both the wrong side of history and public opinion on this important civil rights issue.
I respect the right of all churches and faith groups to define marriage in line with their beliefs.
I support legal protections to ensure that churches and faith groups can choose whether or not to carry out same sex marriages. We are campaigning for equal civil marriage – equal recognition and protection under the law and by the state. Cllr Finlay may choose to refer to us as the “LGBT camp”, we are in fact a community – one that is charitable, compassionate and united.
Our campaign for equal civil marriage will continue and I hope that those politicians and faith leaders who have previously refused to engage with our community reconsider.
This issue should not be about Christians vs gays. Marriage and family are too important an issue to be made a political football. Everyone can gain from reasoned debate, discussion and the opportunity to learn about and from each other.
LGB&T people who want to get married do so because they love each other and want to commit to each other, and perhaps want to start a family. There are too many wrongs in our world, let’s not make love one of them.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
John O’Doherty, Director, The Rainbow Project