A Westminster bill calling for same sex marriage in Northern Ireland has passed its first parliamentary stage in the House of Lords.

Conservative peer Robert Hayward tabled the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Bill in the Lords.

Peers will now have a chance to voice their opinions on the proposed legislation on its second reading.

An identical bill is to be tabled in the House of Commons today by Labour party MP Conor McGinn, who hails from Camlough in Co Down.

The ban on same-sex marriage is one of the disputes at the heart of the power-sharing impasse at Stormont, with the DUP resisting Sinn Féin calls for a law change.

Mr Hayward and Mr McGinn are spearheading efforts to legislate for the contentious issue at Westminster amid ongoing political deadlock over the matter at Stormont.

Ahead of formally introducing the bill yesterday, MrHayward said: "It gives me great honour to launch the Westminster campaign for equal marriage rights in Northern Ireland in the House of Lords.