UK government refuses to legislate marriage equality in Northern Ireland

Prominent gay politician Lord Hayward has withdrawn an amendment which would have extended same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland after Equalities Minister Baroness Williams told the House of Lords that it was a matter for the Northern Irish government.

During a House of Lords debate on the amendment to the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths Bill on Friday (February 1), Williams said the government “wants to see Northern Ireland legalise same-sex marriage,” but did not support the amendment.

When it came to marriage equality, she said: “The proper and best place for it to be addressed is in the Northern Ireland assembly by Northern Ireland’s elected representatives. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s top priority remains to restore the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly at Stormont, and this should be the focus.”

Northern Ireland has not had a functioning devolved administration since January 2017, when relations between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin broke down.

Conservative peer Lord Hayward agreed to withdraw the amendment, but warned that if a government is not formed in Northern Ireland soon, he plans to try once again to bring marriage equality to the country through legislative means. Read more via Pink News