LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR MARRIAGE SUPPORTERS IN NI
Some good news! The Government has confirmed protections for traditional marriage supporters in Northern Ireland as same-sex civil marriage becomes legal in the Province.
C4M had raised concerns about the lack of protections for individuals, churches and organisations who disagree with same-sex marriage. Tony Rucinski spoke about this at public meetings in Northern Ireland late last year.
The Government has now confirmed the new regulations provide “relevant protections equivalent to those across the rest of the UK”. A spokesman added that further regulations covering same-sex religious marriage will follow after additional consultation.
It is now our expectation that there will be robust protections put in place to prevent any church in Northern Ireland being required to conduct a same-sex marriage.
The Secretary of State has also said he is in discussion with Northern Irish equalities bodies about guidance for employers and schools to underline that views about marriage should be respected. We await this with interest.
We are delighted that a specific free speech clause on marriage has been added to NI public order law. This is a great start, but there needs to be a restructuring of the incitement to hatred offence.