28 November 2005

'Victimised' party chair resigns

BBC


The Civil Partnership Act creates a new legal relationship

The chairman of the Alliance Party has resigned claiming he has been the victim of a campaign by party members over his opposition to gay unions.

Lisburn councillor Trevor Lunn opposed the use of the council's wedding room for civil partnerships.

Alliance backs civil partnerships, but its three Lisburn councillors disagree.

Alliance assembly member Seamus Close proposed a motion preventing the council's wedding room being used for same-sex unions.

However, last week the council overturned its policy regarding gay and lesbian unions.

The council had banned the use of its wedding room for same-sex civil partnership registrations, prompting gay activists to threaten legal action.

"The campaign against Lisburn from within the party has continued to the point where I thought it would be better if I wasn't chairing the organisation".
Trevor Lunn
Alliance Party


However, after consulting lawyers, a council committee decided the ban should be lifted.

Mr Lunn said he could no longer chair the party because of "a campaign of abuse" by some members.

He said: "The campaign against Lisburn from within the party has continued to the point where I thought it would be better if I wasn't chairing the organisation.

"I always thought the Alliance Party was a broad enough church that we could support some difference of opinion.

"But it appears that in terms of equality issues, that we just can't."

Another Alliance Party Lisburn councillor, Betty Campbell, has resigned from the party executive but both remain as Alliance members.

The party has refused to comment.

The Civil Partnership Act creates a new legal relationship, which two people of the same-sex can form by signing a document.

It provides same sex couples with parity of treatment in a wide range of legal matters with those opposite-sex couples who enter into a civil marriage.

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