The Northern Ireland Assembly is set to debate the introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples. Currently, N.I. is the only nation in the UK to have not legalised same-sex marriage.
Six members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) have filed a motion calling for marriage equality, which will be debated on April 29.
It is noted in the motion that the rest of the United Kingdom has “moved forward with equal marriage rights for same-sex couples”, and argues that “all couples, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should have the same legal entitlement to marry and to the protections, rights, obligations and benefits afforded by the legal institution of marriage”.
The motion would allow gay couples to marry, but it will also protect religious freedoms. Religious institutions will have the right to decide whether or not to conduct same-sex marriages.
It also acknowledges trans issues and requests that “couples of any sex or gender identity receive equal benefit”.
MLAs rejected same-sex marriage twice before. In 2013 it lost out by 53 votes to 42, and in 2012 by 50 votes to 45.
Civil partnerships are currently legal in Northern Ireland.
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