Sinn Féin pledges to push through same-sex marriage as a priority in Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin has pledged to keep trying to push through equal marriage in Northern Ireland – despite the DUP blocking all progress.

The Northern Irish Assembly backed equal marriage by a vote of 53 to 51 last year – but the Democratic Unionist Party used peace process powers to override the vote and block the issue from moving forward.

The DUP has been accused of “abusing” petitions of concern, which were introduced to encourage cross-community power-sharing, to veto marriage legislation despite equality already being the law in the rest of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland.

In its manifesto ahead of next week’s Stormont elections, the DUP pledged to continue to “stand by by its commitment to family values and marriage”.

But republican party Sinn Féin has pledged to keep pushing on the issue in its own manifesto – promising to push for “Marriage Equality for all citizens”/

The party says it will “continue to support marriage equality and equality protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens”.

It adds that it will “work to extend protections in legislation for Transgender and Intersex individuals”, as well as “work with all progressive forces to resist the repeal of the Human Rights Act”.

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness told the Irish Times: “I do believe the marriage equality debate is one that is going to continue.

“We don’t want to be part of a backward region, we want to be part of region that is known to stand up for the rights of people who feel that they are being discriminated against.

“We are absolutely fearless in pursing equality for people who believe they are entitled to their rights.”