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Marriage Equality

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 17th October 2016.

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Photo of Catherine Seeley Catherine Seeley Sinn Féin 3:00 pm, 17th October 2016

6. Ms Seeley asked the Minister of Finance for an update on his plans to achieve marriage equality. (AQO 479/16-21)

Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin

I thank the Member for her question. I am in favour of marriage equality. That is why I am determined to make what progress I can in this mandate to put it on the statute book. I would like to proceed by way of an Executive Bill and will, at the earliest opportunity, seek Executive agreement to consult on the issue.

I have met the Love Equality consortium on three occasions, as well as the wider LGBT sector. As the Member will know, the consortium has been exploring the possibility of a private Member’s Bill. I have written to the four potential sponsors of such a Bill to advise them of my intentions, and I have offered to meet them.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton Speaker 3:15 pm, 17th October 2016

We have time for a quick supplementary and response.

Photo of Catherine Seeley Catherine Seeley Sinn Féin

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the Minister for his response and, indeed, his support for marriage equality. What allowances does he propose to make for those who do not want to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies?

Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin

I endorse the approach of Naomi Long, one of those behind a private Member's Bill, who said that there will be a need for collaboration in the time ahead. My intention is to provide the same level of protection to clergy and church bodies as has been included in the legislation on same-sex marriage in other jurisdictions within these islands.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton Speaker

That ends the period for listed questions. We now move to 15 minutes of topical questions.