At midnight this evening, Marriage equality will be a legal reality in the North of Ireland despite attempts by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to recall the assembly today (Monday) in an attempt to block the implementation of Westminster legislation which includes decriminalisation of abortion.

Every letter, every tweet, every marcher on the street, every parent who stood up for a child, every friend who showed acceptance, every rainbow flag painted on a face, every flamboyant display at Pride across the UK & Ireland, every single activist, made this happen. The exhaustive campaigning by grassroots activists changed public opinion long before today as poll after poll suggests support for equal marriage as high as 70%..

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – 30th August 2019 Newry Pride makes its way through the Co. Down City. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

After decades of what often looked like doomed campaigning, victory for those who believe in equality lies just around the corner. The first same sex marriages should be taking place in the region on valentines day next year (February 14th 2020). The DUP appears determined to remain on the wrong side of history here and in the rest of the western world until the bitter end. Their latest recall petition has been described as a ‘stunt’ and a ‘circus’ by opposing politicians in Northern Ireland and has failed in its attempt to block this long overdue change to the law.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – 30th August 2019 Newry Pride makes its way through the Co. Down City. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

“I would say it is indeed a momentous day but a bitter sweet one in that it required Westminster to legislate on behalf of our community after the DUP blocked Marriage Equality proposals in Stormont on 5 separate occasions… “Rory Rafferty (Chairperson of Newry Rainbow Community/Pride In Newry hosts of UK & Ireland Pride 2019)

“It is also bitter sweet that we still do not have a functioning assembly in circumstances were its lack continues to adversely affect all communities in Northern Ireland at a crucial time i.e Brexit Negotiations”.

“The UK Pride Network and it’s members will continue to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ communities in any country including constituent parts of the UK where it’s people are unable to live equally. Pride is very much still a protest and we will continue to challenge our government on it’s political relationships, developing policies and of course input into the commonwealth.”Jenny Dewsnap (Co-chair UKPON)