Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has admitted that her party may be unable to prevent the implementation of same-sex marriages in the province.
Mrs Foster, technically head of the devolved government in Belfast that is temporarily suspended due to rows over power-sharing, was addressing an Orange Order march in Fife.
The DUP was the main Unionist party in the power-sharing arrangement at Stormont with Sinn Fein, but the devolved government collapsed last year, before the party was convinced to prop up Theresa May’s minority government at Westminter following the general election in June.
She said that the party did not have enough votes to raise a ‘petition of concern’ at Stormont to halt any act that would introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
There has been increasing pressure to introduce equal marriage in the province following similar moves in Scotland, England and Wales, and Ireland.
The DUP leader also threw her weight behind a plan to build a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Mrs Foster said there was “growing support” for the idea as she addressed the Cowdenbeath event, organised by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland.
The DUP proposed a feasibility study into building a bridge to Scotland in 2015.
“The connection between our two countries has always been special,” she said.
“What better way to cement that relationship than through a bridge?
“Amongst all the nasty and abusive comments made about the Orange wouldn’t it be great to become an actual bridge builder between Northern Ireland and Scotland?
“Whilst some foolishly attempt to use Brexit to build a border between Scotland and Northern Ireland, we are more progressive, we want to build a bridge.”