Married Gay Couple to Challenge Northern Ireland's Marriage Ban

gay marriage northern ireland

A gay couple – who were married in England last year –  has brought a case against Northern Ireland for the systemic ban of same-sex marriage recognition in the country.


The couple has launched a High Court case to have their marriage legally recognised in the country where they currently reside. Upon returning from their wedding celebrations, it was revealed that their marriage would still only be recognised as a civil partnership, though it was recognised as a marriage in the rest of Britain.

John O’Doherty, of The Rainbow Project, has spoken about the case, which was brought about anonymously by the couple: “We are resolute in our assertion that no-one can be married in one part of the United Kingdom and then not married in another. Once a couple is lawfully married in the UK, we contend that their relationship cannot be reclassified as a civil partnership without their consent which is exactly what the law currently does. The legislation says to lawfully married people that they are no longer married. This is unconscionable and cannot be permitted to continue.”

This case – if successful – would mean same-sex recognition in Northern Ireland. Campaigners have based their case on the UK’s single state status, where Northern Ireland cannot govern independently of the rest of Britain.

Same-sex marriage is mainly contested by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) using the ‘petition of concern’ which was initially introduced to protect those on both sides of the peace agreement. However, the DUP is using it for matters other than for Nationalist/Unionist intentions and have fought the Westminster same-sex marriage bill three times.

The case has been adjourned for six weeks.

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