TONIGHT: Northern Ireland To Get Marriage Equality

The Irish Post reports:

Same-sex marriage and abortion are set to become legal in Northern Ireland for the first time. The changes are the result of amendments to a routine Commons Bill on the governance of Northern Ireland tabled by Labour Party backbenchers Conor McGinn and Stella Creasy.

McGinn put forward a proposal calling for Westminster to legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland with Creasy then proposing the decriminalisation of abortion. Both amendments were passed through parliament with significant majorities in what was described as a “watershed moment” for social justice campaigners.

The changes meant same-sex marriage and abortion would become legal unless the Northern Ireland Assembly had been restored by midnight on 21 October, tonight. Same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland has been legal since 16 November 2015.

Reuters reports:

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that does not allow same-sex marriage. Also, unlike England, Scotland and Wales, laws in Northern Ireland forbid abortion except where a mother’s life is at risk, bans that have been upheld by the region’s block of conservative politicians.

But an overwhelming vote by British lawmakers in July to compel the government in London to overhaul the laws if Belfast’s devolved executive had not been restored by Oct. 21 is set to kick in with little or no hope of politicians ending the local parliament’s near three-year hiatus.

It will take the British parliament until mid-January to bring in the new legislation, setting up Feb. 14, 2020 – Valentine’s Day – as the first opportunity for same-sex couples to marry once they give the required 28-days’ notice.