Former NI Secretary's Emotional Plea For Same Sex Marriage In Memory Of Lyra McKee

27 April 2019, 18:34 | Updated: 27 April 2019, 18:37

The first gay Northern Ireland Secretary made this powerful call for political leaders to make same sex marriage legal in Northern Ireland in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee.

The longest serving Secretary of State for Northern Ireland made an emotional plea for British political leaders to allow gay people in Northern Ireland the right to marriage.

Shaun Woodward, a former Labour MP and the first openly gay Northern Ireland Secretary said that "we can't go around saying what a tragic death and yet not recognise that what those women had together was a loving relationship that's been destroyed".

Speaking to Matt Frei, Mr Woodward said: "What better thing could the politicians now do, actually give the gay men and women in Northern Ireland what everybody else in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland has, which is the right to same-sex marriage.

"One of the best memorials we could give to that wonderful woman would be the realisation that in Northern Ireland it's time to allow two people who love each other to be recognised in the sight of god and their friends.

"And when those politicians sit together, let them look in their souls and their hearts and see the importance of giving people the right to be joined in the sight of god and then proceed to get the executive up and running.

"It can be done, it should be done."

Journalist Lyra McKee was killed in a shooting in Northern Ireland
Journalist Lyra McKee was killed in a shooting in Northern Ireland. Picture: Getty

Currently same-sex marriage in the country is not recognised and any same-sex marriage conducted abroad and in the rest of the UK is considered a civil partnership.

But while the Northern Ireland Assembly has voted on the subject five times in recent years and despite its final attempt passing with a slim majority, a petition of concern by the DUP has prevented the motion from having any legal effect.

"What we can do to support Lyra, and now Sara and the other people in the community of Northern Ireland, not just gay men and women but everyone, is to uphold to their rights to be given the dignity of a same-sex marriage that everybody else enjoys," Mr Woodward said.

"What a difference that would make."

Watch his powerful plea in the video above.