Lawmakers in Parliament have voted overwhelmingly to extend same-sex marriage rights to LGBTQ citizens of Northern Ireland.
The vote, by a lopsided margin of 393 to 73, will bring marriage equality to the only part of the UK or Ireland that does not currently recognize same-sex marriage.
The issue has been shelved in Northern Ireland since January 2017, when Stormont – the Northern Ireland Assembly – collapsed. Since that time, the country has basically been run by civil servants.
The proposal was part of a debate meant to keeping Northern Ireland running in the absence of a functioning government.
The marriage amendment, put forward by Labour MP Conor McGinn, requires marriage equality to become the law of the land in Northern Ireland if Stormont is not restored by October 21.
The Guardian reports McGinn addressed the House of Commons saying the chamber had “failed LGBT people in Northern Ireland before” by not extending same-sex marriage rights in a timely manner.
“Tonight, we have the chance to do the right thing,” said McGinn. “People in Northern Ireland, and indeed across Britain and Ireland, are watching. I, for one, am not going to let them down.”
WE DID IT !!!!!
The House of Commons has voted by a massive majority to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland if the Stormont Executive isn’t restored by 21st October.
— Conor McGinn (@ConorMcGinn) July 9, 2019
A caveat to the clause allows for a future assembly in Northern Ireland to have the power to amend or change the law.
In the meantime, it will be necessary for the Secretary of State in Northern Ireland to prepare for new regulations allowing marriage between same-sex couples.
MPs in Parliament also voted to extend abortion rights to women in the same session.
MPs have voted in favour of equal marriage in Northern Ireland, 383 to 73. Congratulations to everyone who’s campaigned tirelessly for #equalmarriage. Same-sex couples in NI will soon be able to enjoy the same rights to marry as the rest of the UK.#EqualityWins pic.twitter.com/OCfj0jDyPG
— LGBT Foundation (@LGBTfdn) July 9, 2019
Am in bits. Northern Ireland will have marriage equality if there is no Executive by 21 October. We’ve waited so long it doesn’t feel real. Thank you @ConorMcGinn! 🏳️🌈😭
— Eóin Tennyson (@EoinTennyson) July 9, 2019