MP expresses disappointment at failure of same sex marriage bill

Labour MP Conor McGinn had proposed the bill to legalise same sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Labour MP Conor McGinn had proposed the bill to legalise same sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

CAMPAIGNERS have expressed disappointment after a Private Members Bill aimed at extending the right to same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland was blocked in the Commons yesterday.

Conor McGinn's bill, which was due for second reading today in the House of Commons, had its progress prevented when a Conservative MP raised an objection.

On Wednesday, the House of Commons voted in favour of an amendment to the Northern Ireland Bill, which would oblige the Secretary of State Karen Bradley to issue guidance to senior civil servants in light of the ban on same-sex marriage in the region.

An amendment forcing the secretary of state to issue guidance on abortion regulations, proposed by Labour MP Stella Creasy, was also passed.

Ms Creasy and South Armagh-born Mr McGinn, MP for St Helen's North, had originally put forward an amendment that would have repealed a Victorian law criminalising abortion in the north and a statutory order that bans marriage between people of the same sex.

However, that was withdrawn, leaving the more modest proposal which was passed by MPs.

Speaking after the blocking of the same sex marriage bill Mr McGinn said: "Earlier this week MPs voted in their hundreds in support of marriage equality for Northern Ireland.

"It cannot be right that a single MP has now been able to thwart the happiness of thousands in Northern Ireland.

"The government urgently need to clarify how they intend to ensure that the right to equal marriage in Northern Ireland - which has the support of the assembly, parliament and the public - becomes law. Equality can't wait."

Patrick Corrigan, of Amnesty International also described the development as "extremely disappointing."