Today large crowds gathered across three cities of Northern Ireland to demonstrate against the Private Members’ Bill which has been proposed by Paul Givan, a DUP member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Many organisations, politicians and public figures, including Amnesty International, Stephen Fry and Brian Kennedy have strongly criticised moves to create a “conscience clause” proposed in a new Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Amnesty International have warned, that if the measure becomes law, it would undermine existing equality protections and allow for the refusal of goods or services to gay and lesbian people on the grounds of strongly-held religious beliefs.
Speaking at the event at Belfast City Hall, Patrick Corrigan of Rights NI and Amnesty International said, “What is proposed is not a conscience clause, it is a discrimination clause.
“This is not about freedom of religion, this is about treating a section of our population as second-class citizens.
“This change to the law is not welcome and it is not needed. The law already strikes a fair balance between the human right to freedom of religion and the human right not to suffer discrimination.”
The Rainbow Project director, John O’Doherty called upon those in attendance of the event to take to social media to to help spread the message of Equality for All, “Get your message out that we don’t want discrimination here in Northern Ireland”
Today’s rally also called on the First Minister to publish Stormont’s overdue sexual orientation strategy, which could help tackle homophobia in Northern Ireland society.