Unionist parties called last-moment for a debate in order to stop the change in legislation. It was the first debate in more than two years. Since there is no functioning government in Northern Ireland (due to the fact that Sinn Féin and the DUP aren’t able to come to a power-sharing arrangement), the meeting had no effect on legislative alterations. Westminster gave the region until midnight October 21st to reach an agreement and restore the government, to prevent the proposed law-change. Since that deadline passed at midnight, same-sex marriage and abortion will be legal next year.
Parties in favour of same-sex marriage did not show at Stormont during the debate. Michelle O’Neill, vice-president of Sinn Féin called the event a “stunt”. She wrote on Twitter: “as of midnight, the North has taken a huge step forward in LGBT+ and women's rights. I want to commend all those that have campaigned over the decades for these fundamental rights.”
The first marriage ceremonies are scheduled to take place on February the 14th, Valentine’s day. Northern Ireland is the only region in the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is illegal. In Ireland, couples of the same sex are also able to get married.