Unite delegate from Northern Ireland, Bridie McCreesh, today (September 13) addressed conference urging them to support Motion 41 on same-sex marriage and the DUP.
The trade union movement is based on principles of equality and solidarity and why Unite urged all our members to vote ‘Yes’ in the 2015 referendum to legalise same-sex marriage in the South of Ireland.
“When that referendum was won it was a huge step forward for equality and human rights,” said Bridie McCreesh, Unite Delegate.
“It is also why as a movement we cannot ignore the actions of the Conservatives in using DUP votes to prop up their government – actions that effectively provide legitimacy for some of the DUPs reactionary views,” she added.
The DUP First Minister, Arlene Foster, has said her party will continue to keep using the ‘Contentious Petition of Concern’ – a mechanism that means Bills need cross-community support to become law.
“This will block same sex marriage in Northern Ireland for at least another 5 years; effectively using the peace process to block the drive towards equality,” said McCreesh.
“The DUP have stated that using the petition of concern demonstrated their determination to ‘protect’ the traditional definition of marriage,” she added.
The DUP led the opposition at Stormont to the Northern Ireland Equality Commissions case against a bakery that refused to make a customer a cake iced with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’.
Foster herself wrote to the Scottish government in 2015 asking Edinburgh to bar civil partners from Northern Ireland converting their partnership to marriage and Foster has justified these positions by insisting that gay people don’t really want to get married anyway, that the issue had “all become a bit of a storm in a teacup”.
“It is not a ‘storm in a teacup’ to those denied their human rights,” said McCreesh.
“The DUP is out of step and on the wrong side of history – on this and so many questions,” she added.
Thousands marched in the Belfast Pride this year under the banner of ‘Demand Change’.
“Continuing to advocate discrimination on the basis of sexuality is not a ‘storm in a teacup’; it is a denial of people’s human rights and it is against the basic tenants of our movement. Please support motion 41,” added McCreesh.