Belfast Telegraph

Labour MP would launch bid to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

A Labour MP has said he is prepared to launch a Private Members Bill to give MPs a vote on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to PoliticsHome, Conor McGinn said he would take the action if the Conservative government did not act.

In the Commons on Tuesday, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley said it was a matter for the Stormont Assembly, but if the matter was raised at Westminster the Government would allow a free vote as it was a matter of conscience.

Mr McGinn - who was brought up in Northern Ireland - said the focus should be on restoring the Executive in Northern Ireland, but that from the Secretary of State's answer it was clear Westminster could legislate on the issue.

"If the Government will not commit to doing that in a reasonable timeframe, then I am prepared to take forward a Private Members Bill or propose amendments to an appropriate Government Bill to extend equal marriage to Northern Ireland," he said in the interview.

"The song says “you can’t hurry love” but in this case love - and equality - has waited too long already. It’s beyond time to give same-sex couples in Northern Ireland the same rights enjoyed by people in Britain and the Republic of Ireland."

Last week senior members of Sinn Fein, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionists, Alliance, Greens and People Before Profit gathered in Parliament Buildings to support the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

The DUP previously held a large enough number of seats to use the petition of concern to prevent a vote on same-sex marriage from advancing.

The party lost the number of seats required to force a petition of concern at the last Assembly election in 2017, but there is speculation some members of the UUP and TUV leader Jim Allister could vote with them to use the petition of concern again if it were to go to a vote in Stormont.

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