The combined votes of the Democratic Unionist party and Ulster Unionist party in the Stormont Assembly helped defeat a Sinn Féin motion to create marriage equality for gay couples in Northern Ireland backed by the SDLP, Alliance and the Green party yesterday.
The defeat of the proposed bill is likely to be challenged in both the British and European courts against the continued ban on gay marriage in one part of the UK. Amnesty International said that the prospect of a gay couple taking a legal case to the European Court of Human Rights is now a distinct possibility.
Caitriona Ruane, the Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Down said: “Attitudes in Ireland are changing because people do not want to see people discriminated against.The gay community has said enough is enough. They are standing up for themselves and their communities.” She said young people were turning to suicide by because of the taunts. “If they don’t have an alternative voice to the vitriolic gay-bashing they will internalise it.”
Richard O’Leary and Gerry Lynch, members of Changing Attitude Ireland, spent a long day attending the debate at the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont. They were given some good feedback on the Northern Ireland version of CAI submission, a briefing which had been sent to all 108 Members of the Legislative Assembly.
The Guardian reported that Changing Attitude Ireland condemned the unionist veto on marriage equality quoting Canon Charles Kenny, the secretary of Changing Attitude Ireland and a Church of Ireland minister. Charles said: “The year is drawing nearer when the love and justice expressed in the gospels will win out and sweep away the faith-based prejudice against gay and lesbian couples.”