Members of Parliament voted for marriage equality in Northern Ireland today (9 July).
The Secretary of State must now make regulations to change the law relating to marriage in Northern Ireland to provide that marriage between same-sex couples is lawful.
The vote overwhelmingly passed in government – 383 saying yes and 73 saying no.
Stormont, the Northern Ireland Assembly, collapsed in January 2017. The debate is aimed at keeping Northern Ireland running in the absence of a devolved government.
Marriage equality will happen unless Stormont reconvenes and overturns the law.
Northern Ireland could get marriage equality within three months
Backbench Labour MP Conor McGinn, originally from south Armagh, said the government should legislate for same-sex marriage.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland that does not have marriage equality.
Thanks to this bill, it could now have marriage equality very soon.
DUP leader in Westminster, Nigel Dodds, said the amendment would ‘drive a coach and horses through the principle of devolution’.
The DUP has also resisted any attempt to pass marriage equality in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland marriage equality is a ‘devolved matter’
The government have repeatedly insisted same-sex marriage is a devolved matter.
McGinn told the Commons the house had ‘failed LGBT people in Northern Ireland before’ over not extending rights in a timely way.
He said: ‘Tonight, we have the chance to do the right thing. People in Northern Ireland, and indeed across Britain and Ireland, are watching.
‘I, for one, am not going to let them down. I hope colleagues do not let them down either.’
Speaking after the vote, Director of The Rainbow Project and member of the Love Equality campaign John O’Doherty said: ‘We would like to express our gratitude to Conor McGinn and Robert Hayward for their efforts in progressing marriage equality through Westminster – helping to end second class citizenship for LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland.
‘Parliament has always had the power to legislate for marriage equality in Northern Ireland. We are glad the House of Commons has seen sense and voted to give people in Northern Ireland the same freedoms enjoyed by everyone else in these islands.
‘All love is equal and we are proud to celebrate this achievement with our community, friends, colleagues and allies from across these islands. Our future got a little brighter today and we hope that LGBT people across Northern Ireland will wake up tomorrow feeling more hopeful for the future we all want to see.’