30/04/2014

Gay Marriage Defeated

A proposal to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has been rejected by MLAs at Stormont.

The Sinn Féin motion to introduce gay marriage in Northern Ireland, while also allowing religious institutions the freedom to opt out of same-sex marriage ceremonies, was defeated with 51 voting 'yes' and 40 voting against.

The motion marks the third time the issue has been raised and defeated over the past 18 months at Stormont. Once again, the DUP tabled a petition of concern, ensuring the motion would need support from a majority of both unionists and nationalists.

All nationalist parties voted in favour of the motion, while most unionists rejected it. The Alliance Party voted mostly in favour, with MLAs Judith Cochrane and Trevor Lunn opposing.

Basil McCrea's NI21 party voted in favour, as did Green Party leader Steven Agnew.

The defeat of the motion means Northern Ireland is still the only region of the UK not to introduce marriage equality in legislation.
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The first gay marriages in the UK took place in England and Wales in March. In Scotland a similar law was introduced in February, with the first marriages expected in October.

Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane said: "Sinn Féin advocates the right to social, economic, gender and cultural equality. This encompasses equality for all, irrespective of race, age, marital or family status, sexual orientation, physical or mental capacities, ethnicity, social origin, political or religious affiliations.

"Republicans are only too aware of what it means to be treated as second class citizens. Our politics are the result of decades of resistance to marginalisation and discrimination.

"In the past the North was synonymous with the never, never brigade embodied by the DUP. The DUP were against the decriminalisation of homosexuality, they were against civil partnership and now are against marriage equality, against gay people adopting and against people from the gay community donating blood."

"This debate and the two other debates we had in this Assembly during this term are not a waste of time or money. Equality is a matter of public interest."

(IT)

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