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Marriage Equality, Abortion Rights Finally Coming to Northern Ireland

N. Ireland

Parliament moved this week to bring the area in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Parliament members in Britain's House of Commons voted 383 to 73 on Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, and the law will take effect unless Northern Ireland's devolved government is restored by October 21, The Guardian reports. MPs also advanced abortion rights for Northern Ireland, where the procedure remains illegal.

Equality campaigners in the region have said that legalizing same-sex marriage is a big step toward equality in Northern Ireland, a relatively conservative part of the United Kingdom. Marriage equality has been the law of the land in England, Scotland, and Wales since 2014.

The Northern Ireland marriage amendment may not go into effect if the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein can reach an agreement before October and form a government, which could then approve or reject the amendment. The parties have been disputing since 2017 and have yet to ease their conflict.

Though the government of Prime Minister Theresa May has stated that the disagreements in Northern Ireland should be resolved by local politicians, the conflict has shown no signs of being resolved, and lawmakers in the U.K. Parliament overwhelmingly backed same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

May ultimately did not participate in the vote for marriage equality.

Prominent MP Jeremy Corbyn tweeted about the marriage equality amendment, thanking the advocates of equality.

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