MPs Set To Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

MPs in Westminster are set to vote this afternoon, 09 July, on whether or not to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

A debate on the matter came about as a bill to keep the region running in the absence of Stormont's devolved government advances through Parliament. This would extend government's legal capabilities to delay a fresh Stormont election until October at the earliest.

Negotiations aimed at restoring government are continuing but no deal has been reached as yet.

Backbench MPs grasped the opportunity to table amendments on other issues, including same-sex marriage and abortion laws.

Labour MP Conor McGinn forwarded a proposal that in the absence of agreement at Stormont, the UK government should legislate for same-sex marriage, a law that any future NI Assembly could overturn or amend.

The Speaker's Office chose the amendment for debate, giving way to four hours of political discussion on the matter.
News Image
A push for the liberalisation of abortion laws was tabled by Labour's Stella Creasy and is also scheduled for voting later this afternoon.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which typically abstains on devolved matters, is to join the vote on same-sex marriage and abortion. The party's Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP, confirmed on Twitter that he will vote in favour of the amendments submitted by Mr McGinn and Mr Creasy.

He wrote: "For those asking, I strongly support equal marriage and women's right to choose on abortion.

"I'm very proud that the SNP Government introduced the UK's most progressive equal marriage law and that Scotland is the only part of the UK where couples from Northern Ireland can convert their civil partnership to a same-sex marriage."

He added: "While the SNP will always defend the principle of devolution, there are a specific set of circumstances in Northern Ireland where there has been no functioning assembly for an extended period.

"In these circumstances, we believe it is right to give MPs a vote on these important human rights issues.

"If the amendments are called to a vote, I will be voting in favour."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 November 2015
Majority Of MLAs Favour Same Sex Marriage
A majority of MLAs have voted in favour of legalising same sex marriage in Northern Ireland, however the DUP has lodged a petition of concern ahead of the vote. This means that while the majority favoured same sex marriage the motion was lost. 53 MLAs voted in favour and 51 voted against. Another politician abstained from the vote.
06 August 2015
Call For Free Vote Regarding Same-Sex Marriage
There are reports that two churches in Northern Ireland have called for the region's politicians to be allowed a free vote regarding same-sex marriage. It is understood representatives from both the Catholic church and Presbyterian church have said party whips should be removed on the issue when it is next debated at Stormont.
20 February 2018
NI Same-Sex Marriage Could Be Passed At Westminster - Karen Bradley
Secretary of State Karen Bradley has said if same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was to be raised at Westminster it is the government's policy to allow a free vote on matters of conscience. She was replying to a question from Labour MP Conor McGinn who asked if she would bring forward legislative proposals on equal marriage in the region.
26 May 2015
Call For Marriage Referendum To Be Extended Into NI
Sinn Féin said the result of the marriage referendum represents the lifting of discrimination against the gay community in the rest of the island of Ireland. Daithí McKay MLA is also calling for the same rights to be extended to Northern Ireland.
20 October 2014
MLAs Debate Human Trafficking Bill
MLAs are debating a human trafficking bill, drawn up by DUP peer Lord Morrow. It is understood that the new Bill contains a clause that would make it illegal to pay for sex, a clause that has been opposed by Justice Minister David Ford. However, both the DUP and Sinn Féin are understood to be in favour of the clause.