Thank you for contacting me about same sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
I believe that marriage is one of the most important institutions we have. The principles of long term commitment and responsibility which underpin it bind society together and make it stronger. It was the view of the Government that the state should not deny someone the chance to get married because of their sexuality, which is why it passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act through Parliament.
In accordance with the Belfast Agreement, this is a devolved matter which should be addressed in the NI Assembly. If this issue were to be raised in Westminster, the Government's policy is to allow a free vote on matters of conscience such as equal marriage.
Marriage aside, I welcome that the Government has committed to furthering rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people. In 2017, Turing's law was passed, posthumously pardoning men for now abolished offences. The last General Election saw the highest number of openly gay, lesbian and bisexual MPs voted to Parliament. I know that a lot of hard work is underway to build on this progress and deliver greater equality for all.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.