Despite a landmark majority vote in favour of marriage equality by lawmakers, Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK to still not allow same-sex marriage.
On Monday, 53 legislators in the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to legalise same-sex marriage, with 51 opposed.
The dominant Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), however, shamefully used a “petition of concern” to veto the move and effectively block marriage equality from becoming a reality.
Northern Ireland’s power sharing system means that if a petition of concern is invoked, a certain amount of lawmakers across all parties must be in favour of a controversial piece of legislation for it to become law.
Despite the disappointing outcome, the vote was seen as historic in that it is the first-ever in which a same-sex marriage motion was supported by a majority of assembly members. Four previous votes had been backed by less than 50 percent of legislators.
“We are absolutely elated today. We cannot overstate the impact this vote will have on our community across Northern Ireland,” commented John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project, after the vote.
“It is true that the DUP have abused the petition of concern to block this vote and are now ignoring the will of the Assembly and the people of Northern Ireland but we will not allow them to dampen our joy today,” he said.
O’Doherty vowed to continue to fight “until marriage equality is a reality for everyone in Northern Ireland.”