Today, for the fourth time in the mandate of this Assembly, MLAs failed to pass a motion calling for the introduction of equal marriage in Northern Ireland. This is an entirely unsurprising outcome and shows that the Northern Ireland Assembly is incapable of correcting the injustices caused by the patchwork of marriage laws across the United Kingdom.

Speaking after the debate, Director of The Rainbow Project, John O’Doherty said: ‘The current situation, where lawfully married Northern Ireland couples have their marriages converted to civil partnerships in Northern Ireland, without their consent, represents an on-going violation of these couples’ rights to family life, to marriage and to freedom from discrimination.

‘It is without precedent that a person can be married in one part of the UK and have their marriage reclassified without their consent in another part of the UK. It also creates farcical anomalies. Northern Ireland same-sex couples who are lawfully married in the UK are recognised as married in numerous other countries including; France, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand but are not recognised in Northern Ireland, where they live. This is truly ludicrous and makes a mockery of British constitutional principles.

‘The Northern Ireland Assembly has proven that it is either unwilling or incapable of correcting these legal anomalies and the unlawful discrimination which flows from them. It will now fall to the courts, as guardians of the rule of law, to ensure that same-sex couples in Northern Ireland have access to the same rights as their counterparts in Great Britain, as they have done in the past by striking down Northern Ireland’s unlawful ban on adoption by same-sex couples.’


Notes to Editors

For further information please contact The Rainbow Project on 028 90 31 90 30


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