Northern Ireland news

Valentine's Day proposal on marriage equality for party leaders

THIS Valentine's Day, Northern Ireland's party leaders will be hand-delivered a proposal with a difference - a petition from LBGTQ teenagers calling for equal marriage.

The members of CaraFriend are calling for marriage equality to be guaranteed as part of any deal for a new government at the Stormont talks or the British government to deliver marriage equality legislation at Westminster.

The parties are currently engaged in a round of meetings about the possible restoration of devolved government, after more than a year of suspension.

One of the campaigners, Shay Love (18) from Belfast, urged people to get behind their campaign.

"We don't want much, we just want to be treated equally," he said.

"We hope people will get behind our campaign as young people trying to make this a better place for everybody to grow up, to live and to love."

Friend, Amelia Clarke, also 18, said she hoped one day "to get married, with my family and friends around me".

"It's time that Northern Ireland respected all its citizens."

The petition has been created with the help of Amnesty International as part of the Love Equality campaign for civil marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

The north is the only part of Ireland or the UK which bans marriage for same-sex couples.

In November 2015, a majority in the assembly voted to support equal marriage, but it was blocked by the DUP using a Petition of Concern.

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