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Catholic MP introduces bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

Conor McGinn (screenshot)

A Catholic Labour MP has introduced a bill that would legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, saying that he is “living the message of the gospel in this Holy Week”.

Conor McGinn, who was born in Northern Ireland but currently represents St Helens North in northern England, described himself as a practicing Catholic and hinted that God would approve of the bill.

“I am a practicing Catholic, now my parish priest would undoubtedly say that I probably need to practice a little bit more,” he joked.

He added that he had no trouble reconciling the bill with his faith.

“I have been asked about whether or not, given the position of the Church hierarchy, this conflicts with my own person faith. Let me say this as gently and I hope as appropriately as possible: the God I know is one of love, compassion and understanding. In showing that to others, in standing up for the marginalised and those denied their rights, I believe I am living the message of the gospel in this Holy Week”.

Northern Ireland’s governing assembly is currently suspended after its two main parties – the unionist DUP and the nationalist Sinn Fein – failed to reach an agreement to form a government.

The suspension means that the UK government is now temporarily ruling the province directly, giving MPs from mainland Britain the chance to overturn some its more conservative laws.

Northern Ireland has much stricter abortion laws than the rest of the UK, and is the only part of the British Isles not to allow same-sex marriage.