Equal marriage rights should be extended across Ireland - McKay
Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has welcomed the result of the marriage referendum and has called for these same rights for gay people to be extended to the North.
Mr McKay was one of the sponsors of a recent debate in the Assembly on the issue.
"This result was truly seismic and represents the lifting of discrimination against the gay community in the rest of the island of Ireland.
"The North now sticks out like a sore thumb as the only part of these islands, indeed the only part of far Western Europe that does not permit marriage equality. That does not present a welcoming image to gay people at home or abroad. I do not see the sense in not giving gay couples the freedom to marry in Ballymena or Ballycastle in their own communities and with their own families when they have the right to do so in Dundalk and Donegal.
"Regardless of referendums however gay people should have the same rights as anybody else.
"I am the only local North Antrim MLA to support marriage equality but I do think that the result at the weekend shows that public opinion in Ireland, north and south, is ahead of where many politicians are at.
"We should always remember the unseen devastation that has been caused by prejudice against the gay community. The sense of isolation, self-harm, the suicide rate amongst many young gay people is something that must be tackled once and for all. The result at the weekend will help that. The continuing blocking of the rights of gay people at Stormont will not.
"Sinn Féin will continue to work towards equality for members of the LGBT community. I am delighted with the result of the referendum. I will be even more delighted when I see the same rights being extended to gay men and women here in North Antrim and the North as a whole."