UK: N.Irish same-sex marriage intervention complicates devolution talks

The British parliament's decision to bypass politicians in Northern Ireland and legislate on same-sex marriage could deepen a stalemate in the region at the heart of Britain's struggle to leave the European Union, a senior lawmaker warned on Thursday.

British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to compel the government to legalise same-sex marriage and also extend abortion rights in Northern Ireland if the local assembly, which collapsed in 2017, has not resumed by Oct. 21.

The surprise intervention could prolong a political standoff in the region most exposed by Britain's decision to leave the EU - and whose future has become the main sticking point for an exit deal, pushing London towards a no-deal exit.

Irish nationalists Sinn Fein pulled out of the power-sharing executive two-and-a-half years ago arguing that their pro-British rivals in government were not treating them as partners.

On-off talks to restore it resumed in May after a hiatus of more than a year but have made little progress. The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has repeatedly refused to accept a series of preconditions set down by Sinn Fein. But as one of those demands is that same-sex marriage be legalised, Sinn Fein is now likely to stand back and let the British government legislate instead, a senior DUP politician said. Read more via Reuters