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Northern Ireland rejects same sex marriage for third time in 18 months

Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK which has not passed a law to introduce same sex marriage.

Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE NORTHERN IRELAND assembly have rejected a motion calling for the introduction of same-sex marriage for a third time.

The motion was put forward by Sinn Fein but was rejected by 51 votes to 43.

Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK which has not passed a law to introduce same sex marriage.

The first gay marriages took place in England and Wales last month. Scotland is due to follow in October.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) backed the motion which also supported freedom of religion.

But the Democratic Unionists tabled a contentious voting mechanism ahead of the debate on the Sinn Fein motion, meaning it could only pass if a majority of both unionists and nationalists supported it.

With the DUP holding the most seats on the unionist side of the house, the party’s decision to table a petition of concern meant the motion was doomed to fall.

Amnesty International said Northern Ireland politicians will not be able to block same-sex marriage indefinitely.

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DUP MLA Peter Weir said:

The DUP as a party support the traditional definition of marriage as one man and one woman, and we will use whatever parliamentary devices we have at our disposal to make sure that remains the case – so we make no apology in taking a strong stand to defend marriage.

A Church of Ireland group Changing Attitude Ireland (CAI) supports the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.

“Loud disapproval from some church spokesmen greeted the proposal that same sex couples have a right to the same respect, security and legal entitlements enjoyed by male-female couples. But such critics by no means speak for all church people.

We call on church people to forego the fundamentalist biblicist argument that led us astray in the past and not to confuse the authority of the Bible with its interpretation.

Read: First gay marriage takes place in England and Wales>

Read: Fine Gael says ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage but ‘no’ to legalising cannabis>

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