Same-sex marriage blocked at Stormont

A motion calling for the redefinition of marriage has failed to pass in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The DUP tabled a ‘petition of concern’, which requires a majority of MLAs from both the unionist and nationalist communities to approve any change.

Although a same-sex marriage motion achieved overall approval today (53 votes to 52), it was rejected by a large majority of unionists.

Negative consequences

The Northern Ireland Assembly had previously defeated moves to redefine marriage four times since October 2012.

Callum Webster, The Christian Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer, highlighted the negative consequences of redefining marriage.

“The terrible treatment of Ashers Baking Company, which dares to hold traditional beliefs about marriage, shows that changing the law would have a damaging effect on civil liberties in Northern Ireland.

“A small number of activists might be pushing for this change, but the people of Northern Ireland do not want to see such a fundamental building block of society redefined.

Co-ordinated campaign

“MLAs may have narrowly backed this motion, but it is not binding and has been blocked by the petition of concern.

“Northern Ireland needs to resist pressure from a co-ordinated campaign to redefine marriage.”

Redefining marriage was most recently voted upon in April this year. MLAs defeated that motion by 49 to 47, with three abstentions.

MLAs also voted against same-sex marriage in 2012, 2013 and last year.