Northern Ireland’s assembly voted narrowly in favour of gay marriage equality but the largest party in the devolved parliament, the Democratic Unionists, have since vetoed any change in the law. The DUP used a “petition of concern” to argue that the law change that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Northern Ireland did not command sufficient cross-community support.
Under the complex rules of power sharing in the region, parties from either the unionist or nationalist community can use this mechanism if they feel there is not enough backing from Protestants or Catholics for particular legislation. It was designed to ensure no one community dominated the other following the 1998 Belfast agreement. Amnesty International said it was ironic that a mechanism established to ensure the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland had been used to deny a fundamental right to the LGBT minority in the province.
Jim Allister, leader of the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice, said same-sex couples getting married was a “perverse definition” of marriage. Allister said the gay marriage equality campaign was a “worked-up phoney demand for rights”. Read more via the Guardian