Northern Ireland Votes Down Gay Marriage Bill
Lawmakers from Northern Ireland voted down a measure that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the U.K. region, the Belfast (Ireland) Telegram reports.
The newspaper points out that the country’s assembly voted against the bill by a vote of 53-42.
The debate on gay marriage in Northern Ireland has been extremely controversial and sparked intense debate as protesters, both for and against marriage equality, stood outside the legislature.
"Attitudes in Ireland are changing because people do not want to see people discriminated against," Sinn Fein South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane said. "The gay community has said enough is enough, they are standing up for themselves and their communities." She also mentioned LGBT youth and that some were committing suicide after being the victims of anti-gay harassment.
"If they don’t have an alternative voice to the vitriolic gay bashing they will internalize it," she said. "There is no room for sitting on the fence on this, this is about fighting for all our children’s rights."
Nevertheless, members of the religious right urged lawmakers to strike down the measure as they pointed out the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage. But Patrick Corrigan director Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland chapter, said members of the LGBT community should not be discriminated against over their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Though the Northern Ireland Assembly failed to support the marriage equality bill, John O’Doherty, a gay rights advocate and director of the health organization Rainbow Project, said supporters will continue to fight for same-sex marriage.
"This will be won slowly so we appreciate every vote that we got," he said. "We are disappointed with the outcome. It has always been a difficult march towards equality here but we will continue to fight the good fight."
The Telegraph notes, "A total of 95 members voted, 42 in favor including all nationalists. Three unionists out of 50 voted yes."
Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. that does not recognize some sort of relationship for same-sex couples.