Belfast Telegraph

SF repeats same-sex marriage call following vote

By Rebecca Black and PA

Sinn Fein has renewed its call for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland after Australia became the 25th country in the world to do so.

Australia's parliament voted to allow same-sex marriage yesterday following a bitter debate settled by a much-criticised government survey of voters that strongly endorsed change.

It alters the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to "a union of two people" excluding all others.

The legislation passed with a majority that was not challenged, although five politicians registered their opposition.

After royal assent and other formalities, the law is likely to take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a few weeks later.

The issue has sparked controversy here where civil unions between same-sex couples are legal, but marriage is not.

The battle made its way to the High Court in August where a judge ruled that it was for the Assembly, and not a judge, to decide social policy.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein's Newry & Armagh MLA Megan Fearon renewed her call for parties here to follow Australia's example.

"It is Sinn Fein's belief that marriage equality should be extended to the North so that citizens here can be treated equally, with the same dignity and respect as citizens across the rest of these islands," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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