"[The DUP] As the largest party... they're the ones who keep squashing all attempts to inch Northern Ireland towards even the most basic, starter-kit form of equal rights for all. It's their fault. Right? No. It's ours. The DUP's quintessential comeback line, when challenged on any of their thuggishly repressive practices – such as twice tabling petitions of concern to block votes on gay marriage in the Assembly – is that they have an electoral mandate to act as they do.
They are speaking for the people. By voting them in as the largest party, this – a benighted little statelet, left behind, nursing our prejudices, as the rest of the world goes marching on – is what the majority of people in Northern Ireland effectively choose. We give them permission to act in our name.Which gives the DUP, and its allies, impunity to go swaggering on in their customary way, cutting a self-righteous swathe through the loving same-sex couples who just want to get hitched [etc.]."Fionola Meredith continued: "Yet again, the benign majority view of gay marriage isn't reflected in what transpires at Stormont. There is a glaring discrepancy between what we say we believe and what actually happens in government."
She concluded: "For Northern Ireland to join the rest of the world, elections must be about more than the usual grim old carve-up. The implicit endorsement of discriminatory practices must end, but it will only do so when we start speaking up about them on the doorsteps, calling the parties to account for their actions and inactions."