Belfast City Council has overwhelmingly voted in favor of same-sex marriage.
Put forward by Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown, he said he wanted to see Northern Ireland join the rest of the UK and Ireland in legalising equality.
At the meeting held last night (1 June), he described Northern Ireland as a ‘backwater, an embarrassment’ for its stance on marriage equality. He added ministers should not be forced into enacting it.
[In the rest of the UK and Ireland], the sky has not fallen in,’ McDonough-Brown said.
‘All that happens is that people who want to commit to each other are able to.’
He put forward a motion, and 38 councillors voted for it across party lines. There were 13 votes against and two abstentions, so the motion was carried.
While it has no legal standing in the country, it is indicative of changing attitudes.
Earlier this month, the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage.
But, in April, the Northern Ireland rejected a proposal calling for the introduction of equal marriage for the fourth time.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland program director, Patrick Corrigan, has said: ‘By their words and actions, too many of Northern Ireland’s politicians are making gay people second-class citizens in their own country.
‘Northern Ireland is being left behind as a discriminatory backwater for gay and lesbian people.’