Elected members of the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) voted in favor of a Sinn Féin motion to support the local LGBTQIA+ community on Wednesday, September 13.

In the motion introduced by Sinn Féin Councillor Daniel Bassett, it was proposed that LCCC strongly condemn discrimination; commit to enhancing awareness and understanding of LGBTQ+ issues; support initiatives that provide safe spaces, counselling, and support for LGBTQ+ youth; actively participate in local Pride events; collaborate with local LGBTQ+ organizations and groups.

In adopting the motion, the LCCC reaffirms its "dedication to promoting equality and inclusivity, with the aim of nurturing a more cohesive community that values its diverse members."

While the motion ultimately passed, it faced some opposition from DUP members, The Belfast Telegraph reports.

Corporate committee chairperson Owen Gawith of the Alliance Party rejected a proposal by the DUP's Andrew Ewing to amend the motion to include Church and Faith rights and to protect single-sex bathrooms. Gawith rejected the proposal as it had "nothing to do with the original proposal."

DUP councilor Alan Givan objected to the Sinn Féin proposal, stating: "According to the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which we all signed up to, we have a statutory obligation to uphold equality for all groups.

"We would be breaking our equality duty if we signed up to this motion.

"We would be setting a hierarchy of equality and causing segregation.

"What would a safe space in the council look like — perhaps we could call it the ‘Pink Room’? Then what about a ‘Green Room’ or an ‘Orange Room’?" 

Givan said the motion was divisive and said he would not want to see the council "festooned" in orange on the Twelfth of July as the council should remain neutral. 

Givan withdrew the "offensive remark" about color-coded rooms at the request of the chairperson. 

The motion was supported by members of the Alliance Party and the Ulster Unionist Party and is set to be ratified at the next full LCCC meeting, with the DUP set to be the only opposing party. The DUP holds 14 of the 40 seats in the LCCC. 

Cllr Bassett said afterward: “Our LGBTQIA+ community make a huge positive contribution to the Lisburn and Castlereagh area and the passing of this motion is an expression of solidarity from the council to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“There is still much to do to tackle the discrimination that LGBTQIA+ citizens all too often face in their everyday lives so I am pleased that the council has committed to enhancing awareness and understanding of LGBTQIA+ issues among council members, staff and the wider community through education and training.

“As well as supporting initiatives that provide safe spaces, counselling, and support services for LGBTQIA+ youth to tackle bullying, harassment, and mental health challenges.

“And a commitment to participate in local Pride events to demonstrate the council’s visible support for the LGBTQ+ community.

"The passing of this motion shows that we can deliver positive and progressive change."