Helping to further the reputation for Northern Ireland’s bonkers political history, Karen Bradley, sitting Secretary of State for the British province, has compared same-sex marriage to a fast internet connection.
Bradley raised the puzzling parallel in a radio interview with a Belfast station, waxing philosophical, “It’s not for me to impose in the same way it’s not for me to impose the way that super-fast broadband is rolled out across the country.”
In other words, Bradley punted, falling back on a talking point that the rollout to marriage equality should be left to Northern Ireland’s First Executive. At present, the office remains unfilled following a scandal and resignation of former First Executive Martin McGuinness.
Ongoing disputes between political parties and the British government overseen by Prime Minister Theresa May have prevented the position from getting filled. Opponents of marriage equality, despite overwhelming support from the public, have used the collapse of the McGuinness government as a way to block implementation of same-sex marriage.
To her credit, Bradley has voted in favor of marriage equality in the past during her time as an MP. Northern Ireland, with its history of religious violence, remains the only UK province yet to put marriage equality in place.
Her comparison to broadband, however, suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the role marriage plays in a healthy society. After all, waiting for inheritance rights or medical power of attorney isn’t quite the same as opining for a better internet connection with which to get faster porn downloads.
As Secretary of State, Ms. Bradley could use her power to hasten the rollout of marriage equality, thus granting same sex couples their rights under the law. Instead, she has let politicking dictate her actions. At present, it remains unclear when a new First Executive could take office.
Call that the luck of the gay Irish.