Northern Ireland is a bit of an anomaly. With a population of around two million people, it's made up of the United Kingdom's six remaining counties on the island of Ireland. While the rest of the UK has shown itself very progressive on the LGBT front -- England, Wales, and Scotland all legalized same-sex marriage last year -- Northern Ireland has proved itself remarkably intransigent. Multiple attempts to bring about marriage equality have been shot down by the Northern Ireland Assembly, and with polls showing massive support for same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland's upcoming marriage equality referendum in May, it looks like the small region will soon become the last holdout of inequality in the region.
Irish activists have expressed hope that a positive outcome in May's vote will have a domino effect in Northern Ireland. All the major political parties in the Republic of Ireland support marriage equality, including some like Sinn Fein which are also important in the North. However, the Democratic Unionist Party has recently announced its intention to include a clause in upcoming equality legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people. Much like the attempts we've seen in Arkansas and the proposals put forth by the Mormon church, the clause would allow for business to be refused if a person felt that they were being compelled to "endorse a same-sex sexual relationship in violation of his/her faith identity."
The Democratic Unionist Party has asked for consultation before the issue is put to a vote. All Out hopes that a massive outpouring of opposition will help persuade politicians to strike down the amendment and protect the dignity and equality of LGBT people in Ireland. The deadline for input is Friday, and 2,500 signatures are needed to meet their goal of 20,000.
Add your name to the All Out petition and encourage others to do the same to send the message that discrimination will never be tolerated, not in the U.S., not in Northern Ireland, not anywhere.