MLA calls on DUP not to use veto on equal marriage bill

Picture by Bernie Brown
Picture by Bernie Brown

Lagan Valley Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn (pictured) has called on the DUP not to use its veto next time equal marriage comes before the Assembly.

Mr Lunn was speaking after he attended a Belfast Pride week event which saw Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson say equal marriage would soon be endorsed in Northern Ireland, as public support overwhelmed opposition to it.

He said he believed that when the issue came before the Assembly again a majority of MLAs would support it.

“The last time equal marriage was debated here, it was only defeated by the DUP’s use of the petition of concern mechanism,” he said. “I believe it would again receive the backing of a majority of MLAs, even if the DUP decided to oppose it.

“Therefore, the only thing stopping it passing is that veto. DUP members could still vote along with their beliefs and principles, but I would call on the DUP to pledge not to use a petition of concern. It is only intended to protect minority rights and in this instance, it is doing the exact opposite.

“Ruth Davidson spoke eloquently on the issue and confirmed once again the tide is changing. My colleague Naomi Long is one of the cross-party MLAs who has submitted the matter to be debated as a Private Members’ Bill, which shows the level of support right across the chamber to change things.”