New York State Assembly member, Daniel J. O’Donnell, delivered a keynote address, entitled “Marriage Equality: How The US Was Won” in Ulster University, Belfast, Friday last, 9th October, on how the campaign for marriage equality was won in the United States. This was followed by a panel discussion to draw out lessons for Northern Ireland.
In the United States, same-sex marriage was made legal nationwide on June 26, 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that State bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
It had become legal in New York four years earlier, after State Assembly member Daniel J. O’Donnell successfully sponsored the Marriage Equality Act into law. O’Donnell led the fight for same-sex marriage in New York, first introducing the Marriage Equality bill in 2007, then again – twice – in 2009, before finally securing passage by both the NY State Assembly and Senate in June 2011.
O’Donnell was the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly, and in January 2012, O’Donnell married his partner of 31 years, John Banta.
Mr. O’Donnell also spoke on radio in Northern Ireland on 9th about Marriage Equality. On social medial he said:
The talk at Ulster University was organised by various groups comprising:
The Campaign for Equal Civil Marriage in Northern Ireland – coordinated by Amnesty International, Rainbow Project, Cara-Friend, Here NI, Irish Congress of Trade Unions and NUS-USI.
In association with the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University.