In a quarter of an hour, Northern Ireland will finally have the right to abortion and equal marriage. After a last minute desperate attempt by the DUP to stop it, the SDLP walked out of Stormont, and the last chance to stop it fell.
My heart is with the many, many campaigners who have fought for decades for both rights. Who have spoken of their own fear and trauma in a society which treats them like murderers and pariahs. My heart is with the friends and families of the many who died waiting for these rights, or who died specifically for lack of them.
My heart is with those who still live with the trauma of the cruel, brutal and unnecessary regime of having to be able to afford to cross the sea to access essential medical care. I recognise that, as celebratory as tonight will be, for many this is a time to mark what was lost along the way.
It’s particularly beautiful that both equal marriage and abortion are decriminalised in the same moment, because the pro-choice and LGBT+ movements in NI have been an example of shared solidarity – you show up for us, we show up for you. Some of us exist in both categories, and even those who exist in neither understand why it’s important. They fought together, and didn’t leave each other behind.
It’s somewhat sad that it is three years of inaction which has led to these rights being recognised rather than positive action, but it doesn’t matter. Minutes to go.
The world shifts.