Within hours, same-sex marriage and abortion will be legal in N Ireland
When the clock strikes midnight tonight, same-sex marriage and abortion will become legal in Northern Ireland for the first time.
The historic changes are the result of backbench MPs tabling amendments to a routine Commons Bill on the governance of Northern Ireland.
Labour's Conor McGinn MP, who is originally from County Armagh, proposed that Westminster legislate for same-sex marriage.
His party colleague Stella Creasy MP then proposed the decriminalisation of abortion, and both amendments were carried by significant majorities.
It meant same-sex marriage and abortion would become legal unless the Northern Ireland Assembly had been restored by midnight on 21 October.
Campaigners for social choice called it "a watershed moment" – bringing Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK and Republic of Ireland.
But pro-life groups and churches argued that the changes were being imposed without anyone in Northern Ireland having voted for them.
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Many urged the DUP to compromise on Irish language legislation and restore devolved government in a bid to block abortion.
But it would have been difficult for Sinn Fein, which calls itself a pro-choice party, to resume power-sharing in those circumstances.
The DUP has obtained enough signatures for a recall the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday but cannot alone form a government.
Sky's senior Ireland correspondent David Blevins said: "Pro-choice groups say the DUP – who are arguing at Westminster for Northern Ireland to be treated the same as Great Britain on Brexit – will be arguing at Stormont for Northern Ireland to be treated differently on same-sex marriage and abortion.
"But the DUP says some of those calling for a second vote on Brexit are now welcoming the fact that same-sex marriage and abortion are being introduced in Northern Ireland without any public vote at all."