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Arlene Foster said the people of Northern Ireland should not live by different rules with regards to Brexit. But apparently, this is fine when it comes to same-sex marriage.

The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Arlene Foster told her conference that her MPs in Westminster would reject Brexit deal that might mean the the six counties received treatment different to the United Kingdom.

The DUP currently has 10 MPs in Westminster, who have a pact with the Conservative Party to provide the government with a majority on certain votes, including Brexit.

Fosters remarks were in response to the ongoing debate over what will happen to Northern Ireland's land border with the Republic of Ireland (an EU member) after the UK leaves the EU, and no longer adheres to rules of free-movement.

According to Reuters, officials in the Republic and in the EU have advocated a special status for Northern Ireland that would see it operate under the same trade regulations as the Republic.

In the text of her speech delivered to the DUP conference on Saturday, Foster said;

We will not support any arrangements that create barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom or any suggestion that Northern Ireland, unlike the rest of the UK, will have to mirror European regulations.

People were quick to note the hypocrisy in this - given that same sex couples in Northern Ireland are denied the right to marry, unlike same-sex couples in the rest of the United Kingdom.

One Labour and Co-Operative MP, Ged Killen tweeted;

Speaking to indy100, Killen remarked

The DUP is happy for Northern Ireland to be different when it comes to denying same sex couples basic civil rights that are enjoyed by their neighbours in the rest of the UK and Ireland.

There is no justification for that discrimination. I’ve yet to come across an argument against same sex marriage that wasn’t rooted in homophobia.

The DUP dismisses public opinion, ignores the will of Northern Irish Assembly and single handedly stands in the way of Northern Ireland joining a growing number of countries around the world in moving towards the equalisation of marriage laws

In March 2014 same-sex marriage was legalised and put into effect in England and Wales. The Parliament of Scotland passed its own same-sex marriage laws that took effect December 2014.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom not to recognise same-sex marriages.

In 2015, a majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly voted in favour of same-sex marriage, but Foster's party used a 'petition of concern' to block the law.

Under the terms of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, members of the assembly can introduce such a petition, which sets such a high bar for a law to pass that it effectively operates as a veto in Northern Irish politics.

Prior to elections to Northern Ireland's assembly in March 2017, then First Minister and leader of the DUP Arlene Foster said her party would continue to use a 'petition of concern' to block the recognition and performance of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Same-sex marriages that have been performed and recognised in other countries (and in the rest of the United Kingdom), are treated as civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.

indy100 has contacted the Democratic Unionist Party for comment.

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