Making history in November, a majority of Northern Ireland’s Assembly members voted in favor of same-sex marriage for the first time. Fifty-three ministers supported the motion, while 52 voted against.
But the motion was immediately blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who submitted a “petition of concern” requiring that the proposal achieve a cross-community majority to pass, effectively vetoing it.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Program Director, told the Belfast Telegraph that the vote is nevertheless a “significant milestone on the journey to marriage equality.”
Northern Ireland is the last part of the UK where gay marriage is still not legal. The situation as it currently stands creates serious legal anomalies for LGBT couples whereby their marriage is reclassified as a civil partnership in Northern Ireland when they arrive there from other parts of the UK or Ireland.
Two court challenges to the ban will be now heard in the courts in Belfast in November and December. ♦
This article has been abbreviated from the original, published on IrishCentral.