Same-sex marriage bill blocked in Commons

Conor McGinn MP. Pic by Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Conor McGinn MP. Pic by Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Campaigners fighting for gay marriage in Northern Ireland have expressed disappointment and anger after a bill designed to extend same-sex marriage to the Province was blocked at Westminster.

Labour Party MP Conor McGinn’s Marriage (Same-sex couples) (Northern Ireland) Bill, which was due for second reading yesterday in the House of Commons, had its progress prevented when a Conservative MP raised an objection.

On Wednesday the Commons voted in favour of an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill, obliging the Secretary of State to issue new guidance to senior civil servants in light of same-sex marriage remaining unrecognised in the region.

“Earlier this week MPs voted in their hundreds in support of marriage equality for Northern Ireland.

“It cannot be right that a single MP has now been able to thwart the happiness of thousands,” Mr McGinn said. I want to assure the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community in Northern Ireland that they have friends and allies in Parliament and we will keep fighting for them until we get this job done. We are not giving up.”

Expressing disappointment at the bill being blocked, Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International (which is part of the Love Equality campaign for gay marriage), commented: “The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State need to get behind legislation to allow LGBT people in Northern Ireland to be treated as equal citizens.”