UK Parliament votes to implement same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

UK Parliament votes to implement same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland
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The U.K. Parliament’s House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly to approve legalizing gay marriage in Northern Ireland.

In a 383-73 vote, the legislature approved an amendment introduced by Member of Parliament (MP) Conor McGinn officially instating LGBTQ marriage in Northern Ireland, the BBC reported on Tuesday. Same-sex marriage has for five years already been the law in the other entities of the United Kingdom, including England, Wales and Scotland.

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Northern Ireland's government is “devolved,” meaning it is able to legislate independently from the British Parliament on some issues. However, the government body collapsed in 2017 and has not been able to reform with a ruling party due to disagreements between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party, according to the Independent.

Gay marriages will be legal in Northern Ireland after Oct. 21 unless its devolved government reforms before then and holds a vote on the issue. 

The vote was part of a broader series of votes on issues surrounding Northern Ireland’s government Monday in Parliament. The House of Commons also approved, 332-99, an amendment extending abortion access in Northern Ireland, which was introduced by Labor MP Stella Creasy. Abortion is currently illegal in the country. 

MPs and others were quick to celebrate the votes on social media.

But critics of the amendments slammed the votes Tuesday and criticized the London-based legislature’s move to step into Northern Irish politics. Nigel Dodds, deputy MP for the Democratic Unionist Party in Parliament, said during a four-hour debate about the legislation that it would “drive a coach and horses through the principle of devolution.”