Sinn Féin tells UK Parliament to pass equal marriage for Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin has given tentative backing to a proposal to legislate in the UK Parliament for equal marriage in Northern Ireland, after the collapse of power-sharing.

Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK that continues to ban same-sex marriage, due to opposition from the ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party.

Progress on the issue has been stalled in the region due to the collapse of Northern Ireland’s devolved power-sharing government – with the DUP walking away from talks with Irish republican party Sinn Féin this month.

Sinn Féin does not recognise the sovereignty of the UK Parliament over Northern Ireland, but the party has this week signalled that it would not stand in the way of proposals to legislate for equal marriage under direct rule from Westminster.

Sinn Féin leaders reportedly raised the issue during a meeting with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in London on Wednesday – after backbench Labour MPs said they would likely bring forward an equal marriage bill.

In a statement to PinkNews, the party’s equality spokesperson, MLA Megan Fearon, confirmed the party’s stance.

She said: “The North of Ireland is the only place in these islands, the only place in western Europe, that denies the right to marriage equality.

“That is a shameful situation and it is becoming increasingly unsustainable tor the DUP to defend, particularly as a majority of the Assembly and the wider public clearly support the introduction of marriage equality.

“Sinn Féin’s objective in the recent negotiations was to secure a pathway to the introduction of marriage equality. We would much prefer that it was done by local power-sharing institutions which are genuinely committed to a rights-based society.

“However, we are not yet at that stage due to the DUP’s decision to collapse the talks and abandon the agreement to restore the institutions.

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