A motion brought by Sinn Fein to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has been defeated by 53 votes to 42.
According to a BBC report, 50 unionist MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) and three Alliance members voted against the measure. Those in support included 37 nationalist and three unionist members.
This follows a defeat in October 2012 to introduce same-sex marriage when the Northern Ireland Assembly rejected the motion.
The BBC reported that protests took place during the debate at Stormont, while pro-gay rights protests also took place in Londonderry. Despite the defeat, protestors claimed they would continue to lobby for another measure to be brought.
However, the Democratic Unionist Party has made clear that it will use a petition of concern, which is effectively a veto, to prevent any alteration or ‘reckless legislation’ that would ‘redefine marriage as it has always been understood’.
In April, Amnesty International and homosexual lobby group Rainbow said they would take joint legal action to force same-sex ‘marriages’ to be adopted in Northern Ireland.
Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said, ‘The majority who voted against the motion should be congratulated for refusing to be intimidated by the threats of Amnesty International.
‘The people of Northern Ireland are entitled to keep the legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, even if Westminster decides to redefine it. We have already seen the marginalisation of people who believe in traditional marriage, before any change in the law. The DUP was right to highlight this very real danger’.