First Minister: NI must be heard on abortion and same-sex marriage

The First Minister of Northern Ireland has said that the Stormont Assembly must have its views taken into account on abortion and same-sex marriage.

Arlene Foster said it was important for there to be protections for those who believe in traditional marriage in the Province.

Earlier this month, the law was officially changed with the first same-sex marriages set to take place in February.


Mrs Foster said: “It should have very much been left to the Northern Ireland Assembly to deal with these issues. It was imposed upon us.”

She said Assembly members need “to have our voice heard” on these issues “because it will be a very different voice to what has been imposed on us from Westminster”.

Mrs Foster emphasised that people who “don’t want to engage” with abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland should have the same safeguards as in the rest of the UK.


On the subject of abortion, she said that the Assembly was unanimous that the proposed abortion framework is “totally unacceptable”.

Referring to the current UK Government proposal to allow unrestricted abortion up to 12 or 14 weeks, the First Minister said “everybody in Northern Ireland recognises that that is not a sustainable position”.

Earlier this month, The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert spoke on BBC Radio Ulster saying that public order laws need to be fully updated to protect all those who disagree with the new marriage law.

Free speech

Mr Calvert welcomed changes that Whitehall had made – following a threat of legal action – but said it had to do more.

“We continue to have concerns about public order law generally in Northern Ireland – we think it needs reforming to protect free speech for everybody.”

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