#repealthe8th won by a comfortable 66%, it isn’t earth shattering but it is still 2/3rd’s of the population. Leaving Northern Ireland increasingly isolated in its positions on gay marriage and abortion, but what does this mean and for whom?
It is probably the most dangerous for unionists. Arlene Foster can say the Republic’s referendum has no effect on the DUP and Northern Irelands stance. But she would be wrong to say it has no effect on the DUP, it will significantly affect their electability.
Attitudes are changing and the DUP are the only real unionist party with the ability to keep Northern Ireland in the union at the moment (sorry SDLP and UUP). Yet their stance on these subjects is losing them votes. More importantly it is going to lose them and us the union. As more unionists want more liberal ideals they are left with little choice but to place their vote on the other side.
How to stand by your principles, but accept that they are not what people want? The DUP don’t have to support the idea of abortion, they just have to ask the question. David Cameron believed in being inside the EU, but asked the question (not the best example for outcome admittedly). They won’t have compromised on their position if they pledge a referendum, but they will at least have reduced the tided of unionists leaving them.