Fourth attempt to redefine marriage at Stormont

The Northern Ireland Assembly is to vote on redefining marriage at the end of the month, despite similar proposals having already been rejected three times in the last three years.

Four MLAs have tabled a motion calling for marriage to be brought in for same-sex couples.

The Christian Institute has warned that the motion also seeks to limit the free speech of Christians who object to the redefinition of marriage.

Free speech threat

A spokesman said, “the motion last year claimed to support ‘freedom of religion’ but this has now been deleted. It looks like they only want to allow free speech within church services.

“But a Christian’s faith must apply to every area of life. We can’t section off Christ’s teaching from our daily activities.

“With the redefinition of marriage in the rest of the UK, and the upcoming referendum in the Irish Republic, there is a co-ordinated campaign to force Northern Ireland to change its mind. But MLAs have defeated this three times before and they can do so again.”

Legislation

The Private Members’ Motion, being tabled by four Sinn Fein MLAs, calls on the Minister of Finance and Personnel to introduce gay marriage legislation.

It also calls on the Assembly to “welcome” the referendum on redefining marriage in the Republic of Ireland.

And it argues that a growing number of parliaments have “embraced, and legislated” for gay marriage, calling on the Executive to follow suit.

Previous defeats

The motion will be debated on 27 April. MLAs have defeated three similar attempts to introduce gay marriage, in 2012, 2013 and again last year.

In April 2014, MLAs voted 51 to 43 against redefining marriage.

Related Resources