Same-sex marriage motion fails

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A motion calling for the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland failed to receive cross-community support, on 29 April 2013.

The DUP tabled a petition of concern to the Sinn Fein motion which meant it required a cross-community majority to succeed.

Sinn Fein's Caitriona Ruane said her party welcomed the 79% majority vote at the Irish Convention on the Constitution in favour of marriage equality and supported the Alliance amendment.

"The DUP may block today but equal marriage is coming, she said.

Earlier in the debate, the DUP's Simon Hamilton said the petition of concern had been brought as his party believed in the "traditional view of marriage".

Chris Lyttle of Alliance proposed his party's amendment which would have given churches the freedom to practise and define marriage as they chose

"It is reasonable that someone of a same sex orientation - a legal sexual orientation in Northern Ireland - expects under the principles of democracy to have equal access to state-provided civil marriage.

Former Ulster Unionist Basil McCrea said he supported the motion and the amendment.

Mr McCrea, who now sits as an independent MLA, said he would have liked to have had the opportunity to challenge those with "homophobic tendencies in the house".

The motion was defeated on a cross-community vote. Those against the move included 50 unionist MLAs and three members of the Alliance Party.

Those in favour included all 37 nationalists who voted and three unionists. After the amendment was rejected the Alliance leader David Ford and two of his party colleagues abstained on the main motion.

The first part of the debate can be viewed here.

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