Proposals for the Causeway Coast and Glens council to back same-sex marriage have been voted down by unionists with zero debate.
A Sinn Féin motion calling for the local council to give their backing to the campaign to support the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was voted down without any debate whatsoever.
Sinn Féin Councillor Tony McCaul, who lodged the motion, spoke about the moment his daughter revealed her sexual orientation as he appealed for support for his motion.
He said the same-sex marriage debate was one that affects many families across both the local area and throughout Northern Ireland.
The proposal was voted down without any debate whatsoever following Councillor McCaul’s speech. The DUP, UUP and TUV voted against the proposal while the only SDLP Councillor present, Maura Hickey, abstained from the vote.
Only the three Sinn Féin members of the committee voted in favour of Councillor McCaul’s proposal.
Councillor McCaul said: “My daughter is actually gay. My first words to her were, ‘I wish you would have told me sooner so that I can help you through this difficult situation’.
“She said to me ‘I have two heterosexual brothers. They can marry whoever they love. I can’t.
“The state doesn’t allow me.’ E
xpressing love by marrying someone is a human right, not a heterosexual privilege. Public opinion in the North here backs same sex marriage by two-to-one.
“I know many people in this room have deeply held religious beliefs. I personally leave my religious beliefs outside that door when I come in here to debate issues that affect people’s lives.
“How does it affect people in the gay community? Incidents of self harm are very high. Fear of coming out is exceptionally high. Fear of homophobic attacks is high. Some people who are gay can never come out because of these fears. Sadly, this is the society we live in today, in this particular place anyway.
“We need to accept homosexuality as part of what is normal in our society. We have to afford them equal rights. This is the only place on these islands where same sex marriage is not allowed.”