LIVE VIDEO: Northern Ireland Assembly Debates Same-Sex Marriage Bill For Fifth Time

Northern Ireland’s Assembly convenes at noon local time (7AM Eastern) to consider a same-sex marriage bill for the fifth time since the 2011 election. Watch live here. The Belfast Telegraph reports:

When gay marriage was last voted on in June there was only a two-vote difference overall, with the motion defeated by just 49 votes to 47. Last night there were indications that up to four SDLP MLAs who have abstained or been absent in past votes are prepared to vote for the proposal now. One Alliance MLA, Trevor Lunn, who has voted against and abstained in the past, confirmed he will be supporting the motion. However, one Ulster Unionist who voted for the proposal last time, Danny Kinahan, is no longer in the Assembly and his replacement, Adrian Cochrane-Watson, is believed to be opposed.

Three other unionists – NI21 leader Basil McCrea and independents John McCallister and Claire Sugden – are expected to vote in favour again. Mr Lunn was one of three Alliance party representatives who abstained in the last vote, despite the official party line being to support marriage equality. Yesterday he said the issue of same-sex marriage had not even been included in the party’s last Assembly election manifesto. He said he had been “on a journey” over the issue. But he told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme that some of those who had praised him for voting against the measure in the past were now “quite critical” of him.

The Guardian reports that the bill is expected to be “torpedoed” by the Democratic Unionists Party (DUP):

Under the complex rules of power-sharing, unionist and nationalist parties can claim a bill or a piece of legislation cannot pass through the devolved assembly because it fails to command cross-community/Protestant-Catholic support. In the four previous votes to attempt to bring in gay marriage reform there have been narrow majorities against change. In April, the margin was only two votes against gay marriage.

Since then a number of unionists and assembly members from the cross-community Alliance party, who abstained in previous votes, have indicated they will vote in favour of the pro-gay marriage motion introduced by Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP) later on Monday. Yet if there is a narrow vote in favour this time of same-sex marriage being legalised, the DUP has indicated it will use the petition of concern to sink the legislation. Amnesty International said the petition was only designed to protect minority rights rather than discriminate against a minority – Northern Ireland’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

  • JoeMyGod

    The debate is now underway!

  • Mark

    I keep wondering how my life would have been different if all these stupid-ass laws hadn’t condemned me for just being gay. I have to wait for somebody to vote yea or nay for how I feel. And i can’t help but put the majority of blame (99.999%) on goddamned religion.

    So, go ahead and vote again NIA. Yes, sure, vote again.

  • JoeMyGod

    And here comes the polygamy argument!

    • j.martindale

      But look at all the evidence! The floodgates to polygamy have been opened because of marriage equality in the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, and on and on!

    • They don’t have any argument against same-sex marriage and so
      all they got left is to attempt to tie it to polygamy and suggest that we can’t
      have same-sex marriage because then it might bring about polygamy. Bringing up that argument is evidence that they don’t have any solid argument.

  • Opposition bringing up the question of polygamy….our side correctly points out that you know the other side doesn’t have an argument when they bring that up.

  • Quoting opposition from Justice Alito during the Windsor case on the “purpose of
    marriage” pushing the “marriage is just for reproduction”, idea. even though we don’t limit marriage to those who are able to reproduce already.

  • Member complaining about this being brought up and saying it is just a political issue and that it should have waited for more support. Well if the opposition is
    going to keep blocking this then it SHOULD be made a political issue until there is change. Simply saying, well let’s wait until all the support is there is entirely the wrong position, this issue needs to stay in the public view till it is passed.

  • Opposition saying that the change would render the definition of marriage meaningless, and yet that hasn’t happened in any of the jurisdictions that allow same sex marriage

    Then saying that why not stay with non-marriage methods of recognition but separate but equal is never equal.

    And finally saying that this will lead to forcing religious institutions to conduct the marriages. Again something that has not happened.

  • Mark

    Civil Union vs Marriage. ….Kinda like…Platinum vs Diamond memberships. So obviously one is ‘more’ than the other, and obviously not equal.

    • Exactly, would they ever agree to a switch were heterosexuals get civil unions and gay people get marriage? No of course not and it’s because they know that they are NOT equal.

  • Mark

    LOL! The rights of churches are more important than the rights of the people!!! NOT!

  • Ed Burrow

    gordon lyons…opposing.
    we don’t have the time to debate this? what the fuck?

  • Mark

    “the time necessary to debate the issue properly” WTF?

    • The other side always complains that they don’t have enough time and there has not been enough time for debate. But they will always say that no matter how much time is given, and they don’t use the time if extra time is available.

    • Gene

      The majority of the majority (Protestants, Presbyterians mainly) support marriage equality. they know their minds
      The majority of the minority (Roman Catholics) support marriage equality. They know their minds.
      There is not need for further “debate”, just a need for a small number of Hard Core Protestant fanatics who sit in the regional government to grow up.
      If they don’t they should not whine and bitch when Westminster finally says “enough” and lets the courts do the right thing and bring in marriage equality….but, they will

    • TampaZeke

      That’s a favorite conservative delaying tactic. Remember back in 2004 how much Republicans complained and cried about how they didn’t have enough time to debate the issue of amending state constitutions to ban marriage equality? No? Neither does anyone else. As long as they were winning in their anti-gay crusade they were all about rush, rush, rush! The MOMENT the tide turned they suddenly became concerned about rushing so they flipped to the delay, delay, delay tactic.

  • Ed Burrow

    faith faith…
    yes, flick that switch, dude. switch it off.

  • Mark

    and when I was 13 I thought McDonalds was the finest food in the world….

  • Complaining about anti-gays being treated as anti-gays or being held to nondiscrimination laws. It’s quite a silly victim argument, if people don’t like being treated as anti-gay then they should not be anti-gay and their religious beliefs do not allow them to flout non-discrimination laws.

  • Ed Burrow

    yes! would any married couple like to downgrade their marriage for a civil partnership?

    • Yup, the claim that they are good enough and equal clearly is an empty one.

  • Very good question, if they are the same would any of the opponents change their marriage to a civil union? The opposition likes to claim that civil unions are good
    enough but they clearly don’t actually believe it, they know that they are not equal.

  • Mark

    some are opposed by personal conscious. You mean – they hate queers?

  • Mark

    a holy christian concept??? nasty break for Muslims, Buddhists, etc.

    • They don’t seem to understand that just because they use the word doesn’t mean that they own it. Civil marriage clearly goes beyond just a narrow religious concept.

  • rextrek1

    I guess Northern Ireland doesn’t want TOURISM dollars? It’s bad enough they’re 2nd choices NOW when it comes to Ireland Tours……Most people start below Right – and make their way south and west – avoiding the North ALL together……does Northern Ireland NOT want TOURISM???

  • Mark

    so the possibility of procreation should be the defining factor?? Not that you ever have to – but you best be able!

  • Mark

    same sex marriage = perverse marriage. fucking douchebag

    • Yeah the most hostile voice from the opposition at this point…so no surprise that he is now quoiting the catholic bishops. Most of the opposition pretends to be civil…he is showing the raw bigotry of the opposition.

      • Mark

        Raw is the right word!!

      • Stev84

        Saying what the others have learned to keep to themselves

  • Mark

    if there is no right to marriage – then why the fuck are you arguing about it???

  • Versailles

    Gay men died in battle for you to wear that poppy…how’s that for a downward spiral Mr Allister.

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  • Mark

    ANd she is why it is a good thing that people don’t live forever.

  • Blake Jordan

    I won’t hold my breath…

  • Tone has changed yes, however the raw ugliness under neither the opposition still made itself seen several times during this debate. It still comes back to the belief that heterosexuals are superior to homosexuals and that treating them as equal via marriage is bad. And the opposition also pushes a false view of what religious liberty is.

  • Ed Burrow

    CCaitriona Ruane is speaking very eloquently.

  • And now the vote begins….so now we wait

    • Mark

      I wish my excitement was greater than my disgust.

      • Yeah right there with you….it is striking how little argument the other side has…all I heard was a long line of excuses for not voting yes and lame excuses at that. No consideration given to all the jurisdictions that already have this and how it has worked fine there.

        • Mark

          I wish the motion was titled: Marriage Inequality

          • Well then we would hear that marriage inequality failed to
            advance so that wouldn’t work.

  • TampaZeke

    Conservatives are the same the world over.

  • Mark

    the motion falls….

  • 53 voted yes the motions falls

  • Sam_Handwich

    the plot thins

  • Mark

    and again….kick that can down the road.

  • Baltimatt

    Belfast Telegraph has a poll, should same-sex marriage be legalised in Northern Ireland. So far one vote, mine, 100% in favor.

    Fly, monkeys, fly!

  • Versailles

    The irony of the Mental Health bill following this. Of course, the chronic stress and its effects on people as a direct result of exposure to homophobia…

    • Yeah, it’s very sad indeed when legislatures fail to adopt even the most simple of steps to make life better for people.

  • Stev84

    The DUP is basically a Calvinist cult. The political arm of a tiny church.

  • Should be noted that the motion did receive (but just barely) majority support so that’s a first. 50.5% in favor. People may say why keep bringing this issue up? Well support keeps growing, albeit slowly.

  • geoffalnutt