by Colin Kerr
BELFAST, Northern Ireland, May 5, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) –– Once again, a measure to introduce same-sex “marriage” into Northern Ireland has failed, making it the only jurisdiction in Great Britain to have resisted the trend to redefine the institution of marriage.
It is the third time in the past 18 months that the Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected same-sex “marriage” legislation. The bill was last introduced in the Northern Ireland Assembly last April, when it lost by a 53-42 vote. Six months before that, in October 2012, it lost 50-42.
Northern Ireland's Assembly
The Sinn Féin Party introduced the motion, which was supported by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The Ulster Unionists and Democratic Unionists opposed it. Sinn Fein currently holds 29 of the Assembly’s 108 seats, while the Democratic Unionists hold 38.
The Unionist parties have been aided by both the Anglican Church of Ireland and the Catholic Church, which have both made statements in favor of maintaining marriage as it is.
The second motion had also been introduced by Sinn Féin and, likewise, was defeated by Democratic Unionists. The smaller SDLP, Alliance and Green parties had supported the Sinn Féin motions.
The October 2012 motion had been introduced by the far-left Green Party and was supported by Sinn Féin.
In this case of last week’s vote, since the Democratic Unionist Party introduced a “petition of concern” that obliged the motion to attain cross-party support, a simple “50 percent plus one” majority vote would not have succeeded, anyway.
A novel aspect of Northern Irish legislative rules includes a procedure where a 30-member group of the Assembly can “submit a request to the Speaker for a particular vote to be taken on a cross-community basis.” The communities meant here are unionists and nationalists (Irish separatists).
Because of this procedural detail, it is very unlikely that the law will change on this matter before the next election scheduled in 2016, since the only party in the Northern Ireland Assembly with more than 30 members is firmly against changing the marriage law.
Nevertheless, a great deal of pressure is being put on the tiny country both internationally and within the United Kingdom.
Of the four countries of UK, it is the only one that has not recognized, or is not in the process of recognizing, homosexual “marriages.”
Amnesty International has taken a strong interest in the matter and believes that it is only a matter of time until the law is changed by an imposition of the courts.