Same-sex marriage rights has suffered a set back in Northern Ireland today after MLA’s voted 51-43 against refining the definition of marriage.
NI Assembly has rejected the same-sex motion for the third time, in a damning blow for the gay community in Northern Ireland.
51 Assembly Members (MLAs) voted against the Sinn Féin backed motion, while 43 MLAs voted for it, making Northern Ireland the only region in the UK which has no same-sex marriage law.
Chris Hazzard, A Northern Irish Assembly member tweeted his disappointment in the failure of the motion saying:
‘Very proud to have backed call for equality for LGBT constituents across #SouthDown today – sad that only 50% of South Down MLAs voted yes’
He then retweeted a comment from @SouthDownSF
‘Once again SDLP reps for South Down abstain and fail to support equality for our LGBT constituents. #sdlpfail #EqualMarriage #equality4all’
Last year a similar motion was voted 53 to 42.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in England and Wales – Scotland is yet to set a date to enact marriage equality, but is due to follow later this year. Northern Irish LGBTs will have to wait until the motion is tabled again.
Amnesty International says the Northern Irish Assembly will not be able to block marriage equality indefinitely.
Patrick Corrigan, Director of Amnesty International, said: ‘Politicians in Northern Ireland who continue to block marriage rights for same-sex couples are like latter-day King Canutes, trying in vain to hold back the tide of equality.
‘States may not discriminate with regards to the right to marry and found a family, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
‘That obligation is clear in international law.’