- Jan 31, 2009
Source: NI Election: DUP loses 'petition of concern' power opening door for gay marriage - Sinn Fein slashes lead to one seat - BelfastTelegraph.co.ukNI Election: DUP loses 'petition of concern' power opening door for gay marriage - Sinn Fein slashes lead to one seat
The DUP has lost the power to trigger a controversial Stormont veto mechanism that blocked the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Tabling a "petition of concern" means a proposal before the Assembly can only be carried with the support of a majority of both nationalist and unionist members, rather than a straight head count.
A valid petition requires the signature of 30 Assembly members. In the previous mandate the DUP, with 38 seats, was the only party that could table one on its own.
That handed it an effective veto on a range of issues, including proposals to lift the region's ban on gay marriage.
Emerging from the election with 28 seats, the DUP has lost what had been a key legislative tool.
With the Assembly being reduced from 108 to 90 seats, the DUP was always in line to lose some seats in the poll.
Many viewed the crucial 30-seat mark as the DUP's dividing line between a successful or failed election.
Jim Allister, the Assembly's sole Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) MLA, has indicated his willingness to sign any petition that would block changes to marriage or abortion laws.
That would still leave the DUP one signature short of the crucial 30 and relying on support from elsewhere in the chamber.
1) This is great news!
2) Im sure the DUP will try every trick in the book to i) stop gay marriage ii) get there veto back
3) As the article says the issue could be rendered moot if the Stormont's parties fail to form another powersharing executive in post-election negotiations and direct rule from Westminster is reintroduced by the Brithish Government!