The decriminalisation of abortion is also hugely welcomed

NORTHERN Ireland woke to the news today (Tuesday) that same-sex marriage and abortion have been legalised, joining the rest of the UK.

A last ditch attempt to oppose the legislation  was made yesterday when the province’s devolved government, Stormont, briefly reconvened for the first time since March 2017.

But it was unable to gain enough cross-party support to derail the law, and the first same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland are now due to take place on Valentine’s Day 2020.

Image via YouTube

DUP leader Arlene Foster, above, described it as a “terribly sad” and “shameful day” – not a view shared by most of the province.

The most enthusiastic celebration of the long-overdue changes manifested itself in Belfast’s LGBT+ quarter, where joyful crowds gathered to count the seconds until the law passed at midnight.

As the clock struck 12, the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of:

We can love who we want to love, we can marry who we want to marry, and they can do nothing about it! We are equals, we are who we are, and we are proud to be who we are.

Members of LGBT communities in Northern Ireland have been campaigning long and hard for a change in the law. Image via YouTube

Actress Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare in the hit Northern Irish sitcom Derry Girls, recalled the moment when she and her co-star Siobhán McSweeney joined protests for abortion and marriage equality.

She included a special shoutout to “all the wee lesbians” who can:

Finally be treated as equal in their own country.

Several Irish same-sex couples told the Belfast Telegraph it was a life-changing moment for them.

When the UK government overwhelmingly voted this summer to bring the province’s laws on abortion and same-sex marriage into line with the rest of the country, there were howls of outrage from Christian bigots.

Most vocal in its opposition to the vote was the virulently anti-gay hate group, Christian Concern.

Image via YouTube/Christian Concern

Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy for CC, said:

It is appalling that the government would seek to impose both same-sex marriage and abortion onto a nation that has repeatedly rejected them. The willingness of some members of parliament to ignore the wishes of a devolved government contravenes the very principles of a representative democracy.

This amounts to a form of cultural imperialism where values are imposed on the people. 100,000 people are alive today because of the abortion laws in Northern Ireland. Of all the priorities for parliament at the present time, they have chosen to prioritise enabling more babies to die and forcing a false definition of marriage on people who don’t want it.

Westminster should respect the principle of devolution and let the people of Northern Ireland decide what laws to apply rather than imposing these policies and riding roughshod over the constitution