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Council vote against civil marriage
The Fermanagh District Council has voted against civil marriage tonight (Monday). The motion was defeated 9 votes to 8. Unionist councillors voted against the motion, while Sinn Fein voted for. The SDLP abstained from the vote, while Independent Councillor Bernice Swift was not in attendance.
Speaking to the Herald several weeks ago, members of the council offered a mixed viewpoint on same-sex marriage. Sinn Fein councillor Barry Doherty said: “In my whole time in the council I’ve never heard it mentioned. [However] the trend seems to be going that way, and I don’t see why it would stop here.” Mr Doherty said of his fellow councillors: “I think a person’s background will dictate their views. There’ll be those that are against it and those that don’t care – if people want to be together that’s fine by me.”
He said that he’d expect a similarly mixed response from the people of Fermanagh.
“There are those who’ll be opposed from now until the end of time, and there are those that won’t care if gay marriage goes ahead.” DUP councillor Paul Robinson was less amenable to the idea.
“I wouldn’t be for it, it’s against my principles and I would vote against it if it came up in council. It’s scripturally wrong.”
He said that it ‘could surely come up’ in the context of a council meeting and echoed his fellow councillor in relation to the views of the rest of the Fermanagh District Council.
“There’d be mixed views on that for everyone but at the end of the day that’s their business.”
Independent councillor Bernice Swift added that if the issue were to ever come up, it must be treated with the ‘respect and dignity it deserves’.
“It affects people in Fermanagh and we must respect that and I would not like to categorise people into a discriminative box.”
Councillor Swift went on: “It’s hard to anticipate what the response would be, but it would be an interesting debate. Everyone knows somebody in this position and its up to the elected representatives to be fair and open in discussions.
“I think that more education, awareness and discussion is important as that undoubtedly gives a better understanding.”