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Northern Ireland: Equal marriage legislation to be debated by Assembly

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 22 Apr 2013, 5:45pm

    This is one time I support Sinn Fein. Well done, and I wish them all the luck in the world to drag NI into the 21st century.

    1. That There Other David 22 Apr 2013, 8:35pm

      They’re very very good at playing politics these days. More and more they come across as the party of the future whereas the DUP sit in the past. Of course it helps them that the entire Republic has also surged forward on social issues. The Paisleyites just look like pathetic relics in comparison.

  2. I think it’s a bit inaccurate to say the previous motion “fell narrowly by 45 votes in favour to 50 against”. If at least 30 MLAs want to (and they did in this case), they can require that a vote has cross-community support, in which case either 50% of MLAs and 50% of both communities, or 60% of MLAs and 40% of both communities, need to vote in favour. All 37 of the nationalists present voted in favour, but only 3 of 52 unionists present did, so it was a long way off either threshold.

    1. Gary Spedding 23 Apr 2013, 7:09am

      Just because an article doesn’t go into detail about the petition of concern does not mean it is inaccurate. I shall however happily include detailed information on this matter in an analysis article that shall be following the 29th of April.

      Additionally an article that I hyperlinked into this article describes the petition of concern so I will again highlight that this article is accurate and is not missing anything essential in terms of getting this particular story across.

  3. If Northern Ireland is to get equal marriage then it will need to be by legislation as there is no way that a referendum will be successful there – there are too many evangelical christians,

    Which makes the Republic’s decision to hold a referendum on the issue even more appalling.

    Civil rights should NEVER be put to a public vote (and if the Irish Constitution requires one then that document is seriously flawed,)

    If a referendum is held in the Republic then the fundies in the North will demand one as well, in the full knowledge that it will fail there.

    1. Many people would agree that the constitution is “seriously flawed” – which is why a constitutional convention is underway. But even a flawed constitution can only be amended by referendum. And the constitution is widely perceived to prohibit same-sex marriage (though reasonable people disagree about this).

      A legislative approach would avoid setting a noxious precedent about putting rights to a vote. And I fear the referendum will be closer than expected, slow and fractious.

      But a legislative debate without prior constitutional change would be hijacked by a legal and historical discussion about the meaning of the words of the constitution, eroding support and allowing our opponents to dominate the discussion. And even if marriage succeeded in the Oireachtas, it would be dragged through a lengthy court process with no guarantee of success.

      A referendum is not ideal, but it is the least worst option in this specific situation.

  4. Sinn Fein believe in equality, thats why they support us.

    1. Not blinded by Sinn Fein 24 Apr 2013, 8:34am

      Unless your Protestant………

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