Recently the Belfast City Council voted in favour of same-sex marriage.

The motion was brought to the council following the overwhelming support for gay marriage by the public in Ireland last month.

The Irish referendum saw over 60% of voters choosing to allow marriage “in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.

In the Belfast City Council motion, 38 councillors voted for, 13 voted against and there were two abstentions.

In April the Northern Ireland Assembly rejected a proposal calling for the introduction of gay marriage, after debating the issue for a fourth time.

So, what happens now?

Questions have to be asked whether we can trust that what happens in Stormont is actually a representation of the opinion of the wider population.

Will LGBT campaigners now have to start again at grass roots and win the vote in every council before the folks on the hill will take notice?

We asked some belfastvibe readers what they thought on the subject and we’d like to hear your views too. Simply email me tina@belfastvibe.com, Tweet @belfast_vibe or comment below to join the debate.

Your Say:

INBV-MickyMurray 9Micky Murray said: “I’m genuinely happy and proud that Belfast City Council voted in favour of the marriage equality motion.
“Although it doesn’t change the law, and Stormont might not even take any notice, for LGBT campaigners like myself it keeps the momentum going and that’s what we need.
“This shows that at a local level we want marriage equality, it’s time for Stormont to fall in line and grant it.”

INBV-Chris LoveChris Love said: “There has undoubtedly a lot of attention surrounding the topic of gay marriage in recent weeks and months in Northern Ireland and one that is set to rumble on.
“With the Republic of Ireland voting on favour of gay marriage the question needs to be asked can Northern Ireland continue to be the only part of the UK & Ireland where two adults of the same sex cannot marry?
“Belfast City Council has catapulted the debate one step further. It was a surprise to me that the majority of councillors voted in favour but no surprise that DUP voted down the motion.
“It is interesting to note that the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Northern Ireland was achieved without the support of the main parties.
“This was brought about by Jeff Dudgeon, now a councillor for the UUP and I have a feeling that as a debate rumbles on, the wows of our province will end up at the European Court of Human Rights once again proving that the Assembly at Stormont is not working in its current format, not just for this issue but for many.”

INBV-Lyra McKeeLyra McKee said: “In some ways, the City Hall motion in favour of same-sex marriage passing last night is to be celebrated. That Republicans, Unionists, a Loyalist and the Alliance Party could agree on anything is a miracle in itself.
“It was encouraging to see councillors – from all walks of life – put aside political differences to join forces on what has become this generation’s civil rights issue. Even more encouraging is that it was a comfortable majority that swung the vote.
“Yet there’s still much work to be done. The DUP – who voted against the motion – once stirred Northern Protestants with the spectre of the Vatican, decrying the ‘Papal’ influence on the Republic of Ireland’s government.
“So why is it okay for the whims and wants of NI Churches – Catholic and Protestant – to influence policy here?
“The equal marriage debate here is no longer just about equal rights but about whether we want Church and state to be intertwined, as it is in the policies of the DUP.
“Anyone who doesn’t live what their local DUP councillor considers to be a ‘Christian’ life should be worried.”

INBV-GlennGordonGlenn Gordon said: “I think it’s about time, I feel that the union of marriage should be respected regardless of sexuality or orientation.
“However, there is also the legalities involved such as the merging and protecting of assets. It’s quite important when people build a life, business, home etc that they should have the same rights and protection as anyone else.
“For example, I lived with a guy for ten years, snuff it and my assets go to the cat home or my partner has to fight for something that we built together. It isn’t just a love thing, it’s a next to kin thing.”

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