A motion calling for same-sex couples to be given the right to marry in Northern Ireland has been defeated in the Stormont Assembly.

According to the Guardian, a joint proposal by Sinn Fein and the Green Party was defeated because the Democratic Unionists (DUP) ensured that it would have to obtain cross community support in the parliament to succeed.

The Belfast News Letter reports the motion, which split largely along nationalist and unionist lines, was rejected by 45 votes to 50.

Only three unionist assembly members out of 45 voted in favour of the motion.

Under Stormont rules, any party can trigger a so-called petition of concern on a motion that then can only pass if the majority of nationalists and unionists back it together.

LGBT campaigners held a rally outside the Stormont Assembly this afternoon.

Earlier today, PinkNews.co.uk reported how the Presbyterian Church had written to all Northern Ireland Assembly members (MLAs) stating its staunch opposition to equal marriage.

The church warned that marriage for same-sex couples would “effectively demolish” generations and centuries of societal norms.

The motion stressed that religious organisations would still be able to define and observe marriage as they saw fit, but said that same-sex couples should be allowed to have their unions recognised as marriage in the eyes of the state.

Only half of the cross-community, liberal Alliance Party turned up to vote.

Even if the motion had passed it would not have changed the law, but rather just stated the opinion of the assembly.