Belfast Telegraph

Bid to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland blocked

Conor McGinn (front row centre with glasses) with organisations seeking to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Conor McGinn (front row centre with glasses) with organisations seeking to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Conor McGinn

A bid to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has been blocked from progressing the legislative process in the House of Commons.

MP Conor McGinn, originally from south Armagh, had brought a private member's bill forward seeking to extend same-sex marriage into Northern Ireland following the collapse of the devolved government more than 15 months ago.

He had expected the government to object given its ties to the DUP.

However, the Labour MP's bill has not progressed past Second Reading in the Commons following an objection by a backbench Conservative MP. It will return for a further Second Reading on October 26.

Since the Bill’s introduction to the Commons in March, an opinion poll has shown an overwhelming 76% of the Northern Ireland public now support same-sex marriage.

Mr McGinn said: "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.

But I assure them that I will keep fighting for them and working with the Love Equality campaign to get this done. This is not going away, and we are not giving up. MP Conor McGinn

Following the blocking of the bill, the Love Equality campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland has announced it will hold a march and rally in Belfast on Saturday, June 2.

John O’Doherty said: “Of course, it is disappointing that this Bill has been blocked from further progress today, but we want to thank Conor McGinn and all the MPs from all the parties who have supported this legislation.

“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.

“To demonstrate that support, once again we will take to the streets of Belfast to demand marriage equality for all our citizens. Love Equality will hold a rally at Belfast City Hall on Saturday June 2 and we invite people to join us in numbers.

“Responsibility for legislation now sits primarily with Theresa May, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley and the new Equalities Minister, Penny Mordaunt, and we will seek urgent meetings with them to discuss next steps.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph