NORTHERN IRELAND: Renewed Hope For Same-Sex Marriage As Conservative Party Loses Power To Block

The Belfast Telegraph reports:

The DUP has lost the power to trigger a controversial Stormont veto mechanism that blocked the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Tabling a “petition of concern” means a proposal before the Assembly can only be carried with the support of a majority of both nationalist and unionist members, rather than a straight head count.

A valid petition requires the signature of 30 Assembly members. In the previous mandate the DUP, with 38 seats, was the only party that could table one on its own. That handed it an effective veto on a range of issues, including proposals to lift the region’s ban on gay marriage.

Emerging from the election with 28 seats, the DUP has lost what had been a key legislative tool. With the Assembly being reduced from 108 to 90 seats, the DUP was always in line to lose some seats in the poll. Many viewed the crucial 30-seat mark as the DUP’s dividing line between a successful or failed election.

(Tipped by JMG reader Gerard)