Despite an opinion poll showing 76% of the Northern Irish public supported same-sex marriage, an objection from a backbench Conservative MP has led to the marriage bid being blocked in yet another setback for LGBT+ community rights.
Labour MP Conor McGinn, had originally brought about a private member’s bill seeking Northern Irish same-sex marriage following the devolved government’s collapse over a year ago. Although many hoped there would be greater success this time around, it always looked doubtful due to the DUP’s stance on the issueand their strong connection to the leading party currently governing the UK.
In response to the disappointing outcomeof the bid being blocked, McGinn stated, “Hundreds of thousands of people in Northern Ireland who support the right of same-sex couples to marry will be outraged that one English Tory MP has been able to prevent the progress of my Equal Marriage Bill in the House of Commons today.
While it is welcome that the Government did not formally object to the 2nd Reading of the Bill, they need to clarify how they intend to ensure that the right to equal marriage in Northern Ireland- which has the support of the Assembly, Parliament and the public- becomes law.
The Government can’t continue to talk out of both sides of its mouth on this issue. It can and should legislate to extend equal marriage to Northern Ireland.I know today’s events will disappoint and frustrate the LGBT community in Northern Ireland, who continue to be denied the basic and fundamental right to marry the person they love.”
The Love Equality campaign for same-sex marriage have announced they will hold a rally in Belfast on March 2 in protest at the lack of advancement for the issue. Their spokesperson, John O’Doherty said “Despite huge support among the public and among Northern Ireland Assembly members, with Stormont in long-term suspension, we now look to Westminster to make marriage equality a reality for couples here.”
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