Northern Ireland’s Assembly Rejects Marriage Equality Bill

Northern Ireland's Assembly rejected a marriage equality bill this afternoon, the Belfast Telegraph reports:

AssemblyUnionists voted down a motion at Stormont's Assembly which called on the power-sharing ministerial Executive to legislate.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without marriage rights for gay couples.

The issue sparked impassioned debate, with protests outside the legislature and verbal clashes between campaigners in favour of or opposed to the change. Amnesty International has warned of a likely legal challenge…

…Today's petition of concern at the Assembly tabled by the largest unionist party, the Democratic Unionists, ensured Sinn Fein's motion would be defeated after a majority of unionists failed to back the change.

…A total of 95 members voted, 42 in favour including all nationalists. Three unionists out of 50 voted Yes. Former Ulster Unionists Basil McCrea and John McCallister voted Yes.

DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson defended his party's veto and said colleagues would use it again to defeat "reckless" legislation.


  1. says

    Unionists have always been bigots; and always will be.
    Just another gang of One Book Bible thumpers who like to dress up in Union Jacks and Orange Sashes.

  2. Mary says

    You won’t will ALL battles, at least not right away. Prepare for some losses occasionally. They are inevitable for any social movement. But overall if the gay people of 20, 40, or 60 years ago could see what is happening today they’d be thrilled.

    People who have been anti-gay politically for 30 years are switching sides. Evangelical church members are attending the lesbian weddings of their granddaughters. Gay equality is on its way. Don’t let the minor setbacks get you down.

  3. Jeff says

    Happy to be an Irish citizen…my husband too! I hope the Northern Irish are happy soon.

  4. Ryan says

    The self-styled “pro-British” Protestants in Ulster have a well earned reputation for being enthusiastic Bigots who love to wallow in intolerance. Nobody should be surprised that they are homophobic. Thanks go out to Irish-Catholic Nationalist parties in northern Ireland for supporting gay marriage equality.

  5. Hey Darlin' says

    To the people of Northern Ireland who wish for marriage equality, please know that it may not have come today but it will come. Continue the fight for a positive change, the world is watching.

    I live in a state in the United States that is more than happy to treat me as a second class citizen. I look forward to the day I can legally marry my partner and have access to the legal rights I more than pay for through the first class citizen taxes I pay. One day the “free” countries of the world will truly be free for all citizens and not held back by bigots.

  6. DW says

    It’s not true that “Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without marriage rights for gay couples.” Marriage bills are at various stages of consideration in England/Wales and in Scotland, but they are not a done deal. There are civil unions, however.

  7. ratbastard says

    The hardcore N.I. unionist are similar to our American bible belt based evangelicals, in fact most of the original settlers of our bible belt came from N.I. of Scots-Irish ancestry. They are basically ultra orthodox conservative Christians, far to the right of even the R.C. Church, and the mainstream Protestant denominations. England by comparison is overwhelmingly non-religious, or mainstream Protestant and Catholic, with small Jewish and Muslim populations. The average English person thinks these N. Irish unionist and evangelicals weirdos at best. And I’m not denigrating people of Scots-Irish descent, I’m part Scots-Irish protestant myself.

    But if they can get the unionist and nationalist to be at peace with each other, I suppose anything is possible.

  8. says

    @ ratbastard :

    I totally agree with your post.
    the evangelicals are all part of that Scots-Irish puritanism….and yes they are weird, and they are absolutely despised by their United Kingdom ‘countrymen’….ha.

    Their so called ‘loyalty’ to Britain is neither reciprocated nor respected.
    And Northern Ireland is the most subsidised part of the UK, creating a vast reservoir of social dependency.
    It also has serious anti-gay violence.