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DUP promise to continue blocking same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

By Ben Kelly

The DUP have pledged they will continue to block same sex marriage in Northern Ireland, as they prepare to contest the Assembly elections in May under their new leader Arlene Foster.

The party have consistently opposed the introduction of same sex marriage in Northern Ireland, despite the law being changed in England, Wales, Scotland, and in the Republic of Ireland.

Their government partners Sinn Fein lead support for marriage equality, and have proposed the motion five times in three years. On the last attempt in November, a majority of MLAs supported the law for the first time but the DUP blocked it, using a petition of concern designed to protect the rights of minorities.

They have now promised the party faithful that this won’t change after the next election.

In their manifesto launched earlier this week they wrote: “The DUP has stood by its commitment to family values and marriage and will continue to do so.”


Voters in Northern Ireland will elect 108 MLAs to their Assembly when they take to the polls on May 5, and the DUP – who are also supporting a BrExit – hope to be returned as the largest party, thus retaining the office of First Minister.

The DUP will likely keep enough seats to continue blocking same sex marriage, but if Sinn Fein increase their seat numbers, they too could be in a position to use the petition of concern; something which may give them leverage to move the DUP on the issue.

The only other scenario which would see same sex marriage introduced in Northern Ireland would be a court ruling demanding it. One couple are currently attempting to have their English marriage recognised there, which could lead to such a resolution.

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