Words: Steve Brown
A bid has been launched to legislate same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Tory peer Lord Robert Hayward has called for an amendment to the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths Bill extending same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland – the only territory in the British Isles that does not recognised same-sex marriages.
The amendment would legalise same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland but will also include a clause allowing the Stormont Assembly – which is currently suspended – six months to overturn the provision following the Bill becoming law.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, the amendment will be debated in the House of Lords this Friday (February 1).
Lord Hayward said: “This amendment respects the role of Stormont, but also recognises the reality that those devolved institutions are not currently functioning.
“Same-sex couples in Northern Ireland should not be asked to wait indefinitely for equality with the rest of the UK.”
In 2015, the Assembly voted in support of marriage equality, but it was blocked by the DUP using the petition of concern mechanism.
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director at Amnesty International, added: “This is a welcome move from Lord Hayward.
“More than two years after the collapse of Northern Ireland’s devolved government, we need legislators at Westminster to secure equal marriage for all.
“If Stormont returns, we are happy to continue our work with MLA’s across the parties to change the law, but meanwhile, equality can’t wait.”