First Same Sex Couple to Marry in Northern Ireland

By: CHRIS ANN WRIGHT

On February 11, 2020 Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards were married! See, Haynes, Suyin, ‘It Just Shows What All the Work Was For.’ “Meet the First Same-Sex Couple to Get Married in Northern Ireland”, Time Magazine, February 9, 2020, updated February 10, 2020. This is the first same sex legal marriage in Northern Ireland. Same sex couples in Northern Ireland have been allowed to enter into civil partnerships since 2005 but have never had the opportunity to marry. In England, Scotland and Wales, countries that are also part of the United Kingdom, same sex couples have been able to marry since 2014. Northern Ireland has finally caught up to the rest of country!

On January 13, 2020, same sex couples in Northern Ireland were allowed to register their intent to marry. Robyn and Sharni will make that intent a reality on February 11, 2020 at the expiration of the 28 day waiting period required in Northern Ireland. Apparently, Northern Ireland has not had a functioning government since March of 2017 due to political unrest and so has lagged woefully behind the rest of the UK on the issue of same sex marriage. However, things are changing with a recent election in Northern Ireland and the country seems to be moving forward politically.

Two issues relating to same sex marriage continue to be discussed. The first is the conversion of a previously entered into civil partnership to a same sex marriage.

Currently, the law does not allow couple to convert the civil partnerships. The second is religious ceremonies for same sex marriages. To date a same sex marriage can only be a civil ceremony. There is no provision in the law allowing for religious ceremonies.

Regardless of the glitches, Northern Ireland is moving forward and Robyn and Sharni will be married with the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

At Lyons & Associates, P.C. we value same sex relationships and place a premium on personalized attention for your personal matters. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.