Northern Ireland news

Calls for same-sex marriage to be legalised in the north in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA during rioting in Derry earlier this month
Marie Louise McConville

FRIENDS of Lyra McKee have called for same sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland as a lasting legacy to the 29-year-old.

The journalist, who was originally from Belfast, but had been living with her partner Sara Canning in Derry, died on Thursday April 18 when she was shot by dissident republicans during rioting in the city.

Mourners at the young woman's funeral heard how she had bought a ring and was intending to propose to Ms Canning in New York next month.

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Following Lyra's death, there have been calls for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland in her memory.

The Stormont assembly has voted on the matter five times since 2012, and although it was passed by a slim majority on the fifth attempt, it has been consistently vetoed by the DUP using the petition of concern.

Lyra McKee's partner, Sara Canning pictured at a vigil including church leaders in Derry following the journalist's murder. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Talking to Marian Finucane on RTE Radio 1, journalist Susan McKay said Ms McKee was a proud member and "great champion" of the LGBT community.

She said there also a need for the Catholic Church to address the issue and its opposition to the LGBT community.

Ms McKay said that Fr Martin Magill - whose homily during Ms McKee's funeral service received a standing ovation - needed to address the issue.

"We all saw the dignity of Lyra's fiancé, Sara Canning, in the aftermath of her beloved's murder," she said.

"That is something that I think Fr Magill and his church need to address. They are denying hope to people of Lyra's generation."

Ms McKay added: "If there's going to be room for change in the politicians who are stuck in their trenches, then there has to be room for change within the churches - and in particular, the Catholic church".

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