A THIRD attempt within two years to secure legislation to permit
same-sex marriage was rejected by the Northern Ireland Assembly
when the motion, sponsored by Sinn Féin, was defeated on Tuesday by
51 votes to 43.
Despite securing the support of the SDLP, the DUP and the Ulster
Unionists voted overwhelmingly against the proposal, which Sinn
Féin described as supporting "freedom of religion by allowing
religious institutions to define, observe, and practise marriage
according to their beliefs, granting them the freedom whether or
not to conduct same-sex marriages".
Proposing the motion for Sinn Féin, Caitriona Ruane MLA said
that the party supported the right of all to social, economic,
gender, and cultural equality.
The DUP MLA Mervyn Story pointed to the traditional view of
marriage, as understood by people of many faiths and none, who did
not want any change.
Strong opposition to the motion also came from the RC Archbishop
of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, and the
six RC bishops with dioceses in Northern Ireland.