Same-sex marriage and abortion set to become legal in Northern Ireland at midnight
A momentous day.
When the clock strikes midnight tonight, same-sex marriage and abortion will become legal in Northern Ireland.
The changes will come as amendments were asked to be made by to a routine Commons Bill which was tabled by Labour Party MPs Conor McGinn and Stella Creasy.
McGinn, originally from Co. Armagh, first put forward a proposal to Westminster to legalise same-sex marriage. This was followed up with Creasy putting forward a motion to decriminalise abortion in the North. Both amendments were passed through parliament with significant majorities.
Unless the Northern Ireland Assembly had been restored by midnight tonight (October 21), same-sex marriage and abortion will officially become legal.
According to Sky News, social justice campaigners have described the move as a "watershed moment" as it will bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the Republic of Ireland and the UK.
The DUP obtained enough signatures of the Northern Ireland Assembly to sit today. The meeting began shortly after 1pm and went back and forth between Speaker Robert Newton, DUP MLA Paul Givan, TUV leader Jim Allister and DUP leader Arlene Foster.
Foster said that she was "terribly sad about this situation" and said the opportunity was there to bring forward legislation to stop the abortion reform coming into effect. "I think this is a shameful day for those who haven't come."
She also noted that while they were not able to stop the legislation today, it’s not the end of the matter as far as the DUP is concerned. They will be exploring avenues to repeal and will make sure they do “everything in their power to protect the life of the unborn."
Newton then again stressed that no business could go ahead without the election of a Speaker and deputies. The matter will be discussed at a later date and the assembly was adjourned.
The Northern Ireland government collapsed in 2017 however, the meeting today was only symbolic.