Couple to launch High Court bid for same-sex marriage to be recognised in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK which does not permit or recognise same-sex marriages

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The Independent Online

A couple is to fight for same-sex marriages to be recognised in Northern Ireland in a High Court in Belfast later this week.

The pair, who wish to remain anonymous, married in England but have since moved to Northern Ireland where their marriage is not recognised.

The region is currently the only part of the UK which does not permit or recognise same-sex marriages, after they were legalised in England, Wales, and Scotland last year.

During the proceedings, the couple will ask the court to confirm that their marriage is lawful in Northern Ireland and will be recognised as such, the Guardian reported.

Reporting restrictions have been imposed in the court so as not to identify the couple.

The Rainbow Project, a leading LGBT rights organisation in Northern Ireland, is supporting the couple in its bid.


John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, called marriage a fundamental human right and said the group is “very happy to support this important legal challenge."

“While same-sex marriage legislation in Westminster had many positive aspects, we believe that its provision forbidding the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland is irrational, contrary to principles of British constitutional law and incompatible with the European convention on human rights," he said.

He added that the group is “resolute” that couples cannot be married in one part of the UK and not in another, and the relationship cannot be reclassified as a civil partnership without their consent “which is exactly what the law currently does”.

The situation the couple find themselves in is “unconscionable and cannot be permitted to continue,” he went on.

“Marriage is a fundamental human right, which is now recognised in the UK as including same-sex couples. We will work to ensure that this right is realised for everyone in the United Kingdom and we are confident that marriage equality will be achieved in Northern Ireland,” he added.