Gay marriage has officially arrived in Northern Ireland.
This momentous change comes from updates to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. Those changes then went into effect earlier today. Same-sex couples can now register to be married and those who were married in other countries can have their marriages recognized by the government today. In addition, the first same-sex marriages in the country are expected to take place in early February (following the minimum period of 28 days’ notice).
Many are celebrating this change in law online.
— Mark Antony Ward (@Haemosexual) January 13, 2020
— Jonathan 🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@TizianosBoyATRL) January 13, 2020
🏳️🌈Same sex marriage is officially legal in #NorthernIreland from today.
🏳️🌈This is 6.5 years after marriage equality was legalised in England & Wales.
— Richard Dunbar (@rdunbar83) January 13, 2020
— Danya (she/her) (@danyatma) January 13, 2020
In addition, Patrick Corrigan, the director of Northern Ireland’s branch of Amnesty International, expressed his own joy, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
“This is an historic day for equality and human rights in Northern Ireland,” he said.
He then added, “For too long, LGBT+ people here have been treated as second-class citizens. So, today is an incredible moment for same-sex couples who can finally marry and have their relationships recognised as equal.”
Corrigan then thanked the many people who helped to bring forth this change.
“Today, and the weddings which will follow next month, mark the culmination of years of campaigning and we thank our colleagues in the Love Equality coalition and every supporter who helped make this a reality,” he wrote. “That includes a majority of NI Assembly members who supported the campaign, our champions at Westminster such as Conor McGinn MP and Lord Robert Hayward, and the huge majorities in both Houses who voted for the law change.”
According to BBC News, John O’Doherty, from the Love Equality campaign, also noted that this is the result of five years’ worth of campaigning. That said, he insists that the work isn’t done yet.
“There remain a number of issues to be addressed before couples in Northern Ireland have the same rights as those in other jurisdictions,” he shared.
“However, we celebrate this remarkable achievement with the thousands of people who made their voices heard and demanded change in spite of the many barriers placed in their way.”