Saturday 10 December 2016

Couples to challenge Northern Ireland ban on gay marriage

David Young

Published 27/06/2015 | 02:30

Shannon Sickles (right) and Grainne Close leaving Belfast City Hall following their civil partnership ceremony in 2005
Shannon Sickles (right) and Grainne Close leaving Belfast City Hall following their civil partnership ceremony in 2005

Two couples have cleared the first legal hurdle in their bid to challenge a ban on gay marriage in Northern Ireland.

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A judge in Belfast High Court granted them leave to judicially review the refusal to legalise same-sex marriage in the region. Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles, and Chris and Henry Flanagan-Kane are taking the joint action. They were the first and second couples in the UK to enter into a civil partnership after Northern Ireland became the first part of the UK to make that option available in December 2005.

However, the Northern Assembly has rejected a proposal calling for the introduction of gay marriage on four occasions since, with unionists opposed to the move using a contentious voting mechanism to effectively veto it. Following May's marriage referendum in the Republic, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland where gay marriage is banned.

Irish Independent

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