Today Tuesday, April 29, 2014, the members of the Northern Ireland Assembly voted against a motion of support for extending civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples in Northern Ireland.
A total of 51 assembly members (MLAs) voted against the Sinn Féin motion, while 43 MLAs voted in favour. It is the third time in the past 18 months the Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected same-sex marriage.
Loud disapproval from some church spokesmen greeted the proposal in Stormont that same sex-couples have a right to the same respect, security and legal entitlements enjoyed by male-female couples.
The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland, including Cardinal Seán Brady, had written to the Northern Ireland Assembly members urging them to reject the motion.
In their letter the bishops wrote that “it is a fact of nature that same-sex unions are fundamentally and objectively different from the complementary sexual union of a woman and a man which is of itself naturally open to life”.
Changing Attitude Ireland (CAI), a Church of Ireland group, stated that these spokespeople by no means speak for all church people in Northern Ireland.
“Behind the denial to a gay or lesbian couple of the right to civil marriage is the belief that their relationship is inferior to a heterosexual one, and objectionable in itself. This we believe to be a cultural assumption rather than a divine instruction,” they said.
Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK which has not passed a law to introduce same-sex marriage.
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