Gay Marriage finally Legal In Northern Ireland

Gscene Editorial Team January 14, 2020

Same-sex marriage is officially legal in Northern Ireland beginning Monday, bringing the province in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Northern Ireland did not join England, Wales and Scotland when the British parliament in Westminster largely voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013.

Stormont, the province’s seat of legislative power, voted narrowly in favor of gay marriage equality in 2015 but the DUP immediately vetoed the law change.  Britain’s parliament voted last year to legalize gay marriage and abortion in the region if the province didn’t reestablish its devolved government by October. For couples who are already married, their marriage will now be legally recognised in Northern Ireland. However, those who are already in a civil partnership will not be able to convert it to a marriage at this stage.

The Northern Ireland Office is set to begin a consultation later this year about converting civil partnerships and the role of churches in same-sex marriages. Heterosexual couples will also be able to enter into civil partnerships from today.

An amendment was made to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 by the Labour MP Conor McGinn saying that the government had to legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Mr McGinn said “everyone who values equality, love and respect can celebrate today, It’s a good day for Northern Ireland, an important day for citizens’ rights across these islands and an exciting day for same-sex couples who can now register to marry,”

John O’Doherty from the Love Equality campaign said this was the “culmination of five years of campaigning for marriage equality and marks an enormous step forward for LGBT+ people”.

“There remain a number of issues to be addressed before couples in Northern Ireland have the same rights as those in other jurisdictions,” he added.