DUP set to fail in their attempt to block marriage equality and abortion rights in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is set to legalise marriage equality and decriminalise abortion at midnight tonight.
The DUP's return to Stormont for the first time since early 2017 has been dismissed as a stunt by other Northern Ireland political parties.
The DUP have said they will return to Stormont today in an attempt to block the legalisation of same-sex marriage and the decriminalisation of abortion.
However, without any of Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Alliance Party, the Green Party and People Before Profit on side, the DUP will not be able to form an Executive government and block the new legislation.
After two-and-a-half-years of failure to form a government in the North, MPs in the House of Commons passed the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill earlier this year. The bill contained provisions for the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and the repeal of Northern Ireland's laws preventing abortion.
If the DUP are unable to form a government by the end of the day, the progressive laws will be set into motion at 12.01am on Tuesday. In the case of marriage equality, marriage rights will become available to the LGBT+ community from January 2020 onwards.
As for abortion services, beginning tomorrow there will be a five-month consultation on how services can be best provided.
The Republic of Ireland legalised marriage equality by referendum in 2015, becoming the first country to do so. In 2018, another referendum saw the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, which allowed for the legalisation of abortion.