John M. Becker

Northern Ireland Again Rejects Marriage Equality

Filed By John M. Becker | April 30, 2014 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Northern Ireland, same-sex marriage, Sinn Féin, UK, United Kingdom

northern_ireland_map.jpgLawmakers in Northern Ireland -- the only country in the United Kingdom that still practices marriage discrimination -- blocked an equal marriage bill yesterday.

The Guardian reports:

A Sinn Féin motion to bring in gay marriage to Northern Ireland was defeated by 51 votes to 43. It was the third time in the past 18 months that Stormont [parliament] has rejected same-sex marriage. But the human rights organisation said those who had used their veto in the assembly were "like latter-day King Canutes, trying in vain to hold back the tide of equality". Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty [International]'s programme director in Northern Ireland, said: "States may not discriminate with regards to the right to marry and found a family on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"That obligation is clear in international law. This means that marriage should be available to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland, just as it is now in England and Wales and will shortly be in Scotland."

Corrigan warns that this latest refusal means same-sex couples in Northern Ireland are likely to seek relief in court "on the basis of inferior treatment with regards to the right to marry and found a family."

Predictably, the Roman Catholic Church led the opposition to the bill -- in advance of the vote, Northern Ireland's Catholic bishops wrote letters to every member of parliament demanding that they vote against marriage equality.

England and Wales passed equal marriage last July, and Scotland's marriage equality law sailed through that country's parliament in February.

h/t: PinkNews

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