Ireland’s most famous drag queen, Panti Bliss (also known as Rory O’Neill) is backing the campaign for same-sex civil marriage in Northern Ireland. The high profile campaigner for gay marriage in the Irish Republic’s historic referendum was speaking ahead of this weekend’s Belfast-based March For Civil Marriage Equality.
Bliss (pictured above with Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Irish Senator David Norris at the conclusion of the Irish referendum last month) called on politicians in Northern Ireland to respond to growing support for marriage reform, as the Province remains the only part of the United Kingdom yet to legalise gay marriage. The performer said:
“The joy that was felt across the country at the referendum result in the South was an unforgettable experience, that is a joy that I want people in Northern Ireland to share…
“The tide of history is on the side of same-sex marriage and Northern Ireland can’t resist that tide of history.
“It seems clear that most people in Northern Ireland, just like people in the Republic, in England, Scotland and Wales, already support the introduction of same-sex marriage. Now the people are just waiting for their politicians to catch up.
“When those people in Northern Ireland who are still unsure about the idea see that the introduction of gay marriage didn’t destroy society in Scotland or wherever, then I think they will be much more comfortable with it. Especially, when they see that, this is about civil marriage, so it doesn’t threaten any religion or church or how they go about their business.”
Last week Belfast City Council passed a motion in favour of legalising gay marriage by 38 votes to 13. The vote, proposed by the Alliance Party’s Emmet McDonough-Brown and seconded by Sinn Fein’s Jim McVeigh, was purely indicative as the Council has no power to change the law itself. It was backed by councillors across the political spectrum, apart from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who remain opposed to any redefinition.
Saturday’s march is backed, in part, by Amnesty International. That group’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, Patrick Corrigan, said: “Saturday’s march will be a great family day out with very positive message – everyone in this society should be treated equally. We don’t want Northern Ireland to be the only part of the UK or Ireland where the right to civil marriage is denied to same sex couples.
“There is no objective justification for denying access to civil marriage to same sex couples. Allowing lesbian and gay people to get married has no detrimental effect on anyone else’s marriage.
“It’s now up to the Northern Ireland Assembly to correct that inequality.”
Speaking to Breitbart London, Belfast council’s DUP group leader, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “The marchers are entitled to campaign and hold legal events to promote any cause or change, but we do not support the redefinition of marriage.
“Going back to ancient times marriage has always had certain restrictions and in our culture it is between one man and one woman only. We support no changes to that definition of marriage.”