Today, July 9, MPs in the House of Commons have voted in favour of an amendment to the Northern Ireland Bill which means that same-sex marriage will be legalised in Northern Ireland within three months if the devolved government remains stalled.
The amendment was tabled by Labour MP Conor McGinn and following the debate in the House of Commons, MPs voted on the same-sex marriage amendment, Clause 1. 383 voted in favour and 73 voted against giving a majority of 310.
Prior to the vote, the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, John Penrose said that should the clauses on equal marriage and abortion pass, they will go into law.
— Love Equality NI (@Love_EqualityNI) July 9, 2019
Speaking during debates in parliament, Mr McGinn said: “This House has failed LGBT people in Northern Ireland before.
“It failed a generation of people in Northern Ireland by not decriminalising homosexuality and condemn them to discrimination, to abuse and to living in fear many years after that stopped to be the case in the rest of the UK.
“It failed people in Northern Ireland by not extending same-sex marriage when it became the law here making people in Northern Ireland less valued than the rest of us.
“Tonight, we have a chance to do the right thing. People in Northern Ireland – and indeed across Britain and Ireland – are watching.
“I for one am not going to let them down and I hope colleagues in this House don’t let them down.”
House of Commons votes to 383 to 73 approve New Clause 1 to the #NIExecutiveFormationBill.
This requires UK secondary legislation to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland unless an Executive is formed by 21 October 2019.
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) July 9, 2019
Another amendment, tabled by Labour MP Stella Creasy, which aims to introduce safe and legal access to abortion services was also passed with 332 voting in favour and 99 against giving a majority of 233.
Up until this point, same-sex marriage has been blocked in Northern Ireland by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Marriage equality passed by a small majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2015 but has not been enacted to date as the DUP used a petition of concern to prevent this from happening.
The petition of concern was designed during the peace process to prevent legislation from passing that would favour one community over another (in the case of Northern Ireland, Republicans and Unionists). However, the DUP has yet to clarify how the passing of Marriage Equality would be of detriment to Unionist communities.
The blocking of Marriage Equality by the DUP is a contributing factor to a current political stalemate which has led to the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
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