In an editorial posted Sunday, The New York Times accused Northern Ireland's Unionist Party of “abusing” a power sharing agreement to derail a gay marriage bill.

Last month, a fifth attempt to approve a law that would bring marriage equality to the sole part of the UK where gay couples are excluded from civil marriage failed.

While the proposed bill narrowly cleared the region's parliament, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the largest party in the Stormont assembly, torpedoed the legislation with a “petition of concern,” which blocks bills not widely supported by leading parties.

Times editors called the move “a mean-spirited abuse of the power-sharing agreement that had achieved peace in the North after the violent struggles between unionists and nationalist communities.”

“The party, which has strong Protestant roots and a significant number of evangelical members, involved the peace agreement's 'petition of concern' clause, which can be used to block legislative measures during political emergencies to protect community and minority rights,” the Times explained. “Of course, there is no emergency, and the abuse here is the Unionist Party's devious subversion of legislatively approved rights for gay, lesbian and transgender minorities.”