Challenge to Northern Ireland same-sex marriage ban dismissed as ban ‘does not violate the rights of LGBT couples in the region’.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in the Irish Republic, England, Scotland and Wales however same-sex couples are still banned from marrying in Northern Ireland.
Two legal challenges to the same-sex marriage ban in Northern Ireland have been dismissed by Mr Justice O’Hara in the High Court. O’Hara J said that the ban did not violate the rights of LGBT couples in the region and that it was for the Stormont Assembly to decide on issues of social policy. In delivering his judgment O’Hara J stated:
‘It is not at all difficult to understand how gay men and lesbians who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same-sex marriage’
‘The judgment which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on the law’.
The ruling applied to two cases, the first case was brought by the first female couple and first male couples to have their civil partnership recognised in Northern Ireland. The second case (known as Petition X) involved two men who were married in London in 2014 and were trying to get their union recognised in Northern Ireland as when they moved to Northern Ireland their marriage was changed to a civil partnership in law.
Earlier this month the Irish Prime Minister visited a gay rights event in Belfast and said the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was just a matter of time.