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Parliament backs legalisation of equal marriage in Northern Ireland

This will go through If a new power-sharing executive hasn't been formed at Stormont by October

2019-07-10

Words: Steve Brown

MPs vote to legalise equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

Currently Northern Ireland is the only territory in the UK that does not recognise nor permit marriage equality but now, MPs voted 383 votes in favour to 73 to legalise same-sex marriages.

Under a new amendment approved by the House of Commons, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley has been forced to make regulations to change the law by October this year - unless a new power-sharing executive has been created at Stormont, which collapsed back in 2017.

Labour MP Conor McGinn - who grew up in Northern Ireland - said: "Tonight, we have a chance to do the right thing.

"People in Northern Ireland - and indeed across Britain and Ireland - are watching."

Shadow Northern Ireland minister Karin Smyth said voting for equal marriage in Northern Ireland was a "great testament" to murdered journalist and Attitude Pride Award winner Lyra McKee, who was planning her own wedding to her partner Sara Canning before she was shot in Derry.

Paul Twocock of LGBT rights group Stonewall said: ‘This is a huge step forward for LGBT equality in the UK and a tribute to those who have spent years building momentum and public support for equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

"Equality has long been overdue for LGBT people in Northern Ireland, and over three-quarters of the Northern Irish public (76 per cent) support the change in law."