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Ruth Davidson to speak at Belfast pride celebrations

The Scottish Conservative leader will give the Amnesty Pride lecture on Tuesday.

By STV News

Published 02 Aug 2016.

Ruth Davidson will give a"positive message" about gay marriage during a speech in Belfast.

The Scottish Conservative leader said she is "honoured" to have been invited to give the Amnesty Pride lecture in Northern Ireland, the only part of the British Isles where same-sex marriage is not allowed.

Ms Davidson, who recently became engaged to her partner Jen Wilson, will discuss the issue when she gives the lecture during Belfast's Pride celebrations on Tuesday.

"As a practising Christian, a protestant and a unionist who is engaged to a Catholic Irishwoman, for me, equal marriage isn't about one religion, country or community," she said.

"It is about people in Northern Ireland being afforded the same rights as everybody else.

"Scotland is a better place today because of equal marriage and I want to take that positive message from our experiences here to Belfast and beyond."

Ahead of her speech, Davidson visited a mural entitled 'Love Wins' which depicts a lesbian couple kissing.

The couple in the mural are two local women who wed in the United States because Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland where same-sex marriage remains outlawed.

Davidson also visited an LGBT support centre nearby and met activists, even supping from a can of Irn Bru.

Last year, Ms Davidson was involved in the successful campaign for equal marriage to be introduced in the Republic of Ireland.

However, Northern Ireland's devolved Stormont Assembly has repeatedly refused to legislate on the contentious issue.

Although a slim majority of members voted in favour of lifting the ban when it was debated for a fifth time last November, the proposal fell when the Democratic Unionist Party deployed a controversial voting mechanism to effectively veto it.

Those opposed to gay marriage argue that same-sex couples already have the ability to enter into civil partnerships and claim there is no appetite for further change.

The matter is also being contested through the courts where two same-sex couples have challenged the current law under human rights legislation.