MPs Vote to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage in Northern Ireland.

MPs in Westminster have voted 383 to 73 in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.   A vote was also passed which could see abortion decriminalised provided that the Northern Irish assembly doesn’t reform before October 2019.

Northern Ireland’s de-evolved Government hasn’t sat since January 2017 when power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Fein collapsed.  

Gay marriage has been legal in England, Scotland and Wales since 2015. 

The DUP and Sinn Fein disagree on many issues but few are as contentious as same-sex marriage and abortion.  If the assembly were to re-form before October, it’s almost certain that the DUP would take measures to stop any legislation promoting same-sex marriage. 

LGBT campaigner JohnO’Doherty was reported by the Canary as saying: “Our future got a little brighter today and we hope that LGBT people across Northern Ireland will wake up tomorrow feeling more hopeful for the future we all want to see.”

Gay marriage and Northern Ireland is something that we’ve been writing about for years, and it’s understandable that LGBTQ couples, frustrated by a lack of progress, see this as a glimmer of hope in the face of what is (and will always be) a major sticking point for the DUP.

Northern Ireland was the first place in the United Kingdom to allow civil partnerships, so there’s a precedent for LGBTQ rights as well as increasing supports amongst the public.  There have been numerous high court challenges against the ban on gay marriage with couples arguing that it’s discriminatory and violates human rights.  One of the most notable legal challenges was in 2015.

We’ll keep you updated. 

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