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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 30 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 22
Two Lesbians, one Gay man elected to Belfast City Council
Section One
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Two Lesbians, one Gay man elected to Belfast City Council

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Two Lesbians and one Gay man have been elected to the Belfast City Council in Northern Ireland. Each represents a different party spread across Northern Ireland's political spectrum.

Celebrating her victory, Mary Ellen Campbell of the nationalist Sinn Fein Party tweeted 'Aren't the electorate amazing& Imagine no longer [being] the only gay in the village.'

She was joined by Julie Anne Corr of the Progressive Unionist Party and Jeff Dudgeon of the Ulster Unionists.

'Whilst I am open about my sexuality, I will not let it define me or allow anyone to fit me into a neat category,' Corr told reporters.

Sinn Fein advocates reunion of Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic in the south, and for a long time was identified as the 'political wing' of the nationalist Irish Republican Army (IRA). Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was recently released from custody after being arrested for allegedly ordering a political murder in 1972.

Unionists, in contrast, believe in continued association with the United Kingdom. The Progressive Unionists are the left-wing of the unionist movement, based among Protestant workers in Belfast. The Ulster Unionists are the mainstream unionist party.

Of the three candidates, Dudgeon is the best known. In 1975, he filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights charging that Northern Ireland's laws against Gay sex violated international human rights norms.

In 1982, after many years of legal hearings and political agitation, the UK government forced Northern Ireland to decriminalize Gay sex, and bring local laws into line with the rest of England, Wales, and Scotland.

Didgeon received an MBE (Member, Order of the British Empire) as acknowledgement of his services to Northern Ireland's LGBT community.

Sinn Fein and the Progressive Unionist Party supported same-sex marriage in the recent but unsuccessful attempt to pass a marriage equality measure in Northern Ireland's parliament. The Ulster Unionists allowed their members to vote their conscience on the issue.

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