Sinn Fein claims UK Government ‘assured’ gay marriage in Northern Ireland

Conor Murphy, Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill smiling

The British Government has denied reports it is prepared to overrule the DUP to introduce equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein and the DUP began fresh talks aimed at restoring power-sharing to Northern Ireland on Tuesday (May 7).

The region’s devolved parliament collapsed more than two years ago over a bungled renewable energy scheme. A lengthy impasse has ensued, with the DUP’s opposition to equal marriage forming a major stumbling block in attempts to reach a deal.

Conor Murphy, a former MP and MLA, has suggested that the UK Government was at one point prepared to intervene to break the impasse.

“The issue of equal marriage was going to be presented in the Assembly,” he told BBC Radio Ulter’s Stephen Nolan on Tuesday (May 7).

“If it failed, we had an assurance it would be passed by Westminster.”

“We had an assurance it would be passed by Westminster.”

—Conor Murphy, Sinn Fein

Murphy implied that the pledge was made to Sinn Fein during the last round of power-sharing talks in February 2018.

He told Nolan that “there are well above sufficient numbers in the House of Commons to pass equal marriage for the North.”

Westminster has denied that it would become directly involved in the matter.

“It has been the UK Government’s consistent position that the best way forward is for locally accountable politicians in Northern Ireland to make decisions that affect the lives of the people they serve,” a UK Government spokesperson told PinkNews.

“We want to see devolved government restored as soon as possible – and today’s talks are an important step forward in this process.”

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