Just one cabinet minister voted against equal marriage in Northern Ireland

Just one cabinet minister voted against equal marriage in Northern Ireland — the former Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Brokenshire, was the only cabinet minister to vote against the ruling backed by a 310 majority.

The MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup is a prominent supporter of Boris Johnson’s campaign to become the new Conservative Party leader and Britain’s next Prime Minister, tweeting on Friday (July 8) that he had cast his vote for the former foreign secretary.

In 2013 he voted in favour of marriage equality in England and Wales, and in 2014 voted to extend these rights to armed forces personnel outside of the UK.

In 2007 however, Brokenshire voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations which made anti-LGBT+ discrimination a crime.

Brokenshire served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when Stormont collapsed in January 2017. After assuming the powers of the executive he called a snap assembly election.

He resigned in January 2018 due to health reasons.

Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Women and Equalities, lead the charge alongside fellow cabinet members Matt Hancock, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Michael Gove, Liz Truss and David Mundell.

No votes were recorded for the remaining members.

The House of Commons voted 383-73 in favour of a clause to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland, tabled by Labour MP Conor McGinn.

The clause will require secondary legislation, and will only come into force if power-sharing talks fail to restore devolution by October 21.

Should the Stormont executive become functional by this deadline, the amendment will become void.

Following the vote Ms Mordaunt posted a tweeting saying, “Proud to have supported this amendment which passed with a majority of 310.

“Every citizen of the UK should be able to marry who they love.

“The fact that people in Northern Ireland have been unable to has torn at the social fabric of our country.”

MPs including the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)’s Ian Paisley had argued against the amendment before Tuesday’s (July 9) vote, claiming that it would undermine Northern Ireland’s devolved parliament.

McGinn rebutted those claims by reminding MPs that the assembly voted in favour of marriage equality in November 2015, only for the decision to be overturned by the DUP using a petition of concern veto.

“Far from usurping the assembly I am acting on a mandate from the assembly when it voted in favour of equal marriage,” he said.

He suggested that the move could serve as an “incentive” for Northern Ireland’s parties to come to an agreement after a two-and-a-half-year impasse, and warned the house against “failing” Northern Ireland’s LGBT+ community.

“This house has failed LGBT people in Northern Ireland before,” he said.

“It failed a generation of people in Northern Ireland by not decriminalising homosexuality and condemned them to discrimination, to abuse and to living in fear many years after that stopped to be the case in the rest of the UK.

“It failed people in Northern Ireland by not extending same-sex marriage when it became the law here making people in Northern Ireland less valued than the rest of us.”