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Lyra McKee: Murdered journalist’s partner leads same-sex marriage rally in Belfast | UK News



The partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has led a rally in Belfast calling for same-sex marriage to be allowed in Northern Ireland.

Sara Canning told a crowd of thousands of people gathered outside City Hall that a change in the law would be a “win” for everyone.

She questioned why same-sex couples were treated differently in Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK, where same-sex marriage is legal.

“We pay our taxes, we are governed by the same laws, we live deeply and we love dearly – why should we not be afforded the same rights in marriage?” she asked.

Up to 8,000 people took part in the rally in Belfast
Up to 8,000 people took part in the rally in Belfast

“Equal marriage is not a green or orange issue, a demand of just one side or the other and it shouldn’t be a political football.

“Same-sex couples come from every single political, religious, cultural, and racial background. A vote passing on equal marriage would not be a ‘win’ for any one side, it would be a win for all sides.”

Police estimated up to 8,000 people took part in the protests on Saturday.

Ahead of the rally, Ms Canning revealed she challenged Theresa May on the issue when she attended Ms McKee’s funeral in Belfast last month.

Journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead on 18 April during riots
Journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead on 18 April during riots

Ms McKee, a 29-year-old journalist and author, was shot dead by dissident republicans during riots in Londonderry on 18 April.

Same-sex marriage is at the heart of the stalemate over Northern Ireland’s power sharing arrangement. Democratic Unionists have resisted calls from Sinn Fein for a change in the law.

A majority of members of the legislative assembly were in favour of lifting the ban when it was last raised in the Assembly in November 2015, but the DUP triggered a contentious voting mechanism – the petition of concern – to block it.

The death of Ms McKee has injected fresh impetus into resolving the deadlock at Stormont, with new talks between the UK and Irish governments set to take place.

The rally in Belfast was organised by the Love Equality campaign – an umbrella group of organisations that support a change in the law.

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