Monday, 27 March 2017
Sinn Fein makes equal marriage a 'red line' in Northern Ireland talks
Assembly elections took place in the country earlier this month, after the collapse of the previous agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), following a corruption scandal.
Under the Good Friday Agreement, the second largest party, Sinn Fein, must form a new power sharing agreement with the DUP.
The DUP are anti-same sex marriage, and they're still the largest party, all be it with a reduced majority following the elections.
Previously the DUP have used veto powers known as 'petitions of concern' in order to block equal marriage.
It's thought that during talks today Sinn Fein made same sex marriage progress a 'red line' issue.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said - "The DUP's approach thus far has been to engage in a minimalist way on all of the key issues, including legacy issues - an Irish-language act, a bill of rights and marriage equality."
Meanwhile at a press conference after todays talks collapsed, Sinn Fein MLA Michelle O'Neil added: "Unfortunately the DUP maintained their position in relation to blocking equality and delivering equality for citizens. That is a problem."
"We continue to engage. We do need to make the institutions work, but they can only work on the basis of equality, respect and integrity at their core."
However the DUP's Arlene Foster, a known opponent of LGBT+ rights, said the talks failed because there wasn't "a spirit of compromise".
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP said the collapse of talks was "extremely disappointing" but ruled out a fresh set of elections taking place.
The UK government has extended the deadline for the power sharing talks.