The lesbian, gay and bisexual community in Northern Ireland have suffered another blow to their equal rights as the NI Assembly rejects a motion for the fourth time.

96 MLAs took part in a vote for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, 49 of them voted against the Sinn Féin promoted motion, despite a Belfast Telegraph poll in September 2014, showing that a majority of the Northern Ireland population supporting same-sex marriage. 40.1 per cent of those surveyed supported equal marriage, while 39.4% opposed it. 20.5% had no opinion on it either way.

With Sinn Féin, SDLP and five Alliance MLA’s supporting the proposal, the DUP and Unionists road blocked the bill which would see all LGBs given equality in marriage. All DUP members voted against it and of 53 unionists, just four voted in favour.

Marriage is a devolved issue for the United Kingdom. Gay couples in England and Wales were afforded their rights on 13th March 2014 and couples in Scotland on 16th December 2014. Couples in Northern Ireland are at this time only permitted to have civil partnerships.

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