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“Same-sex marriage is coming to Northern Ireland” – U.S. lawmaker

Same-sex marriage is coming to Northern Ireland. That is the message which a pioneering New York legislator will bring to Belfast tomorrow (Friday) when he gives a keynote speech to campaigners.

Assembly Member Daniel J O’Donnell, who authored New York State’s marriage equality law, is due to tell his audience that same-sex marriage is now inevitable in Northern Ireland.

O'Donnell led the fight for same-sex marriage in New York, first introducing the Marriage Equality bill to the Assembly in 2007, then again - twice - in 2009, before the law finally passed both the Assembly and Senate in June 2011. Same-sex marriage was declared law across the United States on June 26, 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that State bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

Daniel J O’Donnell said:

“We came through the same battles for marriage equality in the United States which Northern Ireland now faces. And just as sure as we succeeded, I know the success of equality campaigners in Northern Ireland is inevitable.

“Marriage equality is now commonplace in the rest of the United Kingdom, and it is to become law in the Republic of Ireland. Because many people in Northern Ireland are supportive of its introduction, it is now only a matter of time before same-sex couples can get married here as well.”

O'Donnell was the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly. Just months after the passage of his marriage equality law, Daniel married his partner of 31 years. He and his husband, John Banta, live in New York City. 

A recent Ipsos MORI opinion poll showed that 68% of people in Northern Ireland, rising to 82% among 16-34 year-olds, back a change in the law to allow same-sex couples to marry. In June, an estimated 20,000 people marched through Belfast demanding marriage equality legislation.

Assembly Member Daniel J. O’Donnell will be giving a keynote address on Friday 9th October at 4.15pm in Ulster University, York St, Belfast. Following the key note address, Assembly Member O’Donnell will be joined by fellow New York Assembly Member Barbara Lifton and John O’Doherty from The Rainbow Project for a panel discussion. 

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