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Ireland’s new gay prime minister pressed the DUP on marriage equality

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And he’s promised to keep pressing the issue.

Ireland’s new taoiseach, openly gay Leo Varadkar, revealed in a press conference with Theresa May, that he has pressed the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, on her party’s blocking of same-sex marriage.

Back in 2015, the Northern Irish Assembly backed the legalisation of same-sex marriage with 53 votes to 52, but because the DUP used a ‘Petitions of Concern’ power, the legislation was blocked.

Speaking in a joint press conference with Theresa May, Varadkar said: “I met with Arlene Foster and the DUP last week in Dublin, and at that meeting I expressed my very strong view that marriage equality should be permitted in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Office via Flickr

“The majority of people in Northern Ireland want that, the majority of members in the Northern Ireland Assembly want that, and I expressed very clearly my view that the Petition of Concern mechanism should not be used to block marriage equality in Northern Ireland.”

He also said during the press conference that Arlene Foster and the DUP “have a different view on this matter,” before saying that “there wasn’t a meeting of the minds on this issue, but it’s not one that I’m not going to continue to raise. I will certainly continue to raise it.”

Varadkar made history earlier this month when he became Ireland’s first openly-gay leader.

Last week, DUP leader Arlene Foster said, in an interview with ITV News, that claims that her party were homophobic were “complete nonsense.” We’ll let you decide on that.

Related: Why a coalition between the Conservatives and the DUP is bad news for LGBT+ people

Words Matt Moore

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