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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland rejects bid to legalize same-sex marriage

Monday, April 29, 2013

BELFAST — A bid to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was defeated in the Assembly on Monday by a vote of 53 to 42.

A motion by the Sinn Fein party called for marriage equality “for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation,” and would have provided religious exemptions allowing the freedom of churches to practice and define marriage as they choose.

Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast Source

The issue sparked impassioned debate, with protests outside the legislature and verbal clashes between campaigners in favor of or opposed to the change, reported the Belfast Telegraph.

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.

John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project health organisation for gay men and a rights campaigner, said he would continue to press for change.

“This will be won slowly so we appreciate every vote that we got. We are disappointed with the outcome. It has always been a difficult march towards equality here but we will continue to fight the good fight.”

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Roman Catholic bishops had been urging members of the Assembly not to support the motion.

Last year, lawmakers voted to make Northern Ireland the only part of the United Kingdom where LGBT people are excluded from the United Kingdom’s proposed marriage equality, which was passed in the House of Commons in February.

As late as 1982 gay sex was still a criminal activity in Northern Ireland because the country was not included in the UK’s gay law reforms of the 1960s.

Gay rights campaigner Jeff Dudgeon took a case to the European court of human rights in 1981 which forced the UK government, in the face of opposition from unionist politicians such as the Rev Ian Paisley, to decriminalize homosexuality in Northern Ireland.

Amnesty International has warned of a likely legal challenge.

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24 more reader comments:

  1. Sad. Give it another decade and they will.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:14pm
  2. So disappointing to all my Irish friends and the world.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:14pm
  3. Reject Democracy. Your freedom is not up to a vote!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:14pm
  4. A sad day for Northern Ireland :(

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:14pm
  5. dislike!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:15pm
  6. unbelievable…thanks for posting

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:16pm
  7. I’m ashamed of my own compatriots in the north of Ireland.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:17pm
  8. This from a country that had virtual prisons for young girls until the 90′s. Way to show that you are evolving…

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:19pm
  9. Sickening…. This place will never move forward! It’s a fucking joke of a country!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:20pm
  10. Sad

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:23pm
  11. What do you mean by that? Sorry, I’m a kid and don’t know much about Ireland’s history.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:23pm
  12. I’m sorry Northern Ireland. I hope you stay strong and keep the faith. We are pulling and rooting for you! We love you!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:38pm
  13. This is actually very disappointing being that my origin is mostly Irish. So sad to know they can’t let something so small like this go considering the crap Ireland went through to get where they are now

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:38pm
  14. And this is a surprise…..?

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:51pm
  15. Ok, guys….Northern Ireland is under British command. This is a war-torn area, and the Irish of the North have very little control over their own lives. Study before you speak. They are deprived of basic human rights altogether.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:20pm
  16. I am sure next time it will pass, look at us in Maine…first a repeal by voters, three years later of younger voters, passed it! Keep your heads up my Brothers and Sisters of Northern Ireland!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:28pm
  17. I’m so sick of people being so selfish now a days. A lot of it has to do with religion and if it wasn’t for that, everyone could love and marry who ever they wanted. Seems like religion is getting in the way of people’s lives, how sad.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:36pm
  18. Shame!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:49pm
  19. Sad.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 2:03pm
  20. I guess that they are behind the times. As the article states, gay sex was illegal until 1982 in Northern Ireland…so I guess that they need a little more time to get to marriage equality, unfortunately.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 2:26pm
  21. And this is why Northern Ireland is so messed up.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 2:27pm
  22. Boooo

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 2:46pm
  23. Fuck you, Ireland. It’s gonna happen. Just let it happen.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 3:24pm
  24. In time…

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 4:39pm