Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and Green MPs sponsor bill to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland
Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Green MPs are jointly sponsoring a bill to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland.
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.
Following the collapse of Northern Ireland’s devolved power-sharing government, campaigners on the region have said that responsibility for bringing about equal marriage now lies with the UK Parliament.
Legislation is being introduced in Parliament this week, with Northern Ireland-born Labour MP Conor McGinn introducing a Ten Minute Rule bill to the House of Commons this week.
The legislation will be jointly sponsored by Conservative MP Nick Herbert, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas – while Tory peer Lord Hayward has put forward a parallel bill in the House of Lords.
Ms Moran said: “Delivering same-sex marriage in England is one of the proudest achievements of the Liberal Democrats’ time in coalition government – but sadly many couples in Northern Ireland are not allowed to marry the person they love.
“I’d much rather that this decision was taken by local politicians in Belfast, but given that it doesn’t seem the Assembly will be up and running again soon, I believe that Westminster MPs are right to change the law to provide marriage equality for everyone.
“It is a real honour and a privilege to be sponsoring this legislation. I hope that all parties will now support it and make sure it becomes law as quickly as possible so that everyone, in all parts of the United Kingdom, no matter where they live or who they love, can get married.”
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley has said the Government will allow a free vote on the bill as a “matter of conscience”.
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