Martin McGuiness has died at the age of 66.
Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuiness has died. He was Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister. He was 66 at the time of his death. It is believed that he was suffering from a rare heart condition.
Despite Northern Ireland’s long-standing block against many LGBT rights, such as same-sex marriage, Martin McGuiness had in the past spoken up for LGBT rights. In 2015 his party, Sinn Féin campaigned on the Yes vote for same-sex marriage.
Speaking after the historic public referendum in Ireland where the public majority voted yes on gay marriage, McGuiness said,
“Politicians, particularly in the north need to reflect on this progress. The world is moving on and Ireland is taking the lead. Pride in Ireland has taken on a whole new meaning.”
In April 2015 he called on Norther Ireland to hold a referendum on the subject of same-sex marriage. Currently, Northern Ireland remains the only part of the United Kingdom that does not allow gay marriage. It has been voted on by the Northern Ireland government four times, each time a same-sex marriage bill has been rejected – despite surveys showing there is overwhelming support for the law.
Sinn Fein said in a statement,
“It is with deep regret and sadness that we have learnt of the death of our friend and comrade Martin McGuinness who passed away in Derry during the night.
“He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”