The DUP has lost its power to veto same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

Arlene Foster

The DUP has lost its power to veto same-sex marriage following an election Northern Ireland.

The party, headed by Arlene Foster, emerged from the election with 28 seats but requires a signature from 30 Assembly members to pass the petition that could block marriage equality.

In order to pass a “petition of concern” over same-sex marriage, the party would need to be supported by a majority of nationalist and unionist members.

The DUP held 38 seats before the governmental collapse that led to the elections, allowing the party to block same-sex marriage laws.

Sinn Féin took 27 seats, while the SDLP had 12, the UUP 10, the Alliance party eight, and other parties taking 5 of the 90 seats declared.

Just 1,168 votes separated the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin, meaning that for the first time Unionists will not hold a majority vote at Stormont.

Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Mike Nesbitt, who previously said same-sex marriage opponents are “on the wrong side of history” while opposing it himself has resigned from his position because of his parties poor performance.

The hardline anti-gay DUP politician Jim Wells retained his seat.

The government in Northern Ireland collapsed after a power-sharing agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin broke down.

Sinn Féin repeatedly called for the DUP leader to quit as First Minister over her involvement in the RHI scandal, a botched energy scheme she oversaw while serving as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, which has been hit with serious allegations of incompetence, corruption and abuse.

Following the results of the election, the parties will have three weeks to establish a government that will have to be run by both nationalists and unionists.

Another election will be called if a government cannot be formed within that time, and if no power-share agreement is made that power could return to the UK government for the first time in a decade.