Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Gay Marriage defeat keeps Northern Ireland out of step with UK

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Monday 29th April 2013 - Members of the Equal Marriage Northern Ireland campaign take part in a demonstration in support of a Sinn Fein motion 'Marriage Equality at the Constitutional Convention' outside Parliament Buildings at Stormont this afternoon ahead of the vote. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Northern Ireland risks becoming a legal backwater due to the failure to modernise laws done away with in the rest of the UK, it has been claimed.

Stormont yesterday rejected a bid to legalise same-sex marriage, making Northern Ireland the only part of the UK without marriage rights for gay couples. It follows criticism of MLAs for excluding the province from reforms aimed at freedom of speech.

The Defamation Bill – which updates Britain's Victorian libel laws into the 21st century – was passed in both houses of parliament last week, but blocked here.

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty said: "Certain sections of Northern Ireland's community are facing inequalities not faced by people in other parts of these islands."

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