Northern Ireland: Equality in matrimony

by Cree Brown, Anezka Turek and Maggie Scaife.

 

Currently, there are 30 countries in the world who have granted same sex couples’ permission to be legally wed – the first being the Netherlands back in the year 2000.

The most recent destination to celebrate this triumph for the LGBTQ+ community is Northern Ireland, six years after the rest of the UK. At 12:00pm on Monday, October 21, 2019, a nation divided by religious notions and equal rights were finally provided with a historic decision.

The UK legalised same sex marriage in 2015, which led to polls taking place in Northern Ireland which resulting in an overall approval of same sex marriage.

However, the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) blocked any changes being made at the Stormont Assembly, under rules which allow them to object to abiding by the same laws governed by the UK’s legal system.

As a result of the continued shut-down of the Assembly over power-sharing issues, the objection against same-sex marriage lapsed automatically this week, meaning ceremonies will be allowed from January 2020.

It was a long-awaited victory for those 62% who were in favour, but still today many seem to oppose the decision including influential leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster who describes the day as “shameful”.

Her ‘controversial’ opinions are also backed by the largest churches in Northern Ireland who aren’t prepared to carry out any same-sex marriages on their premises.

It comes as quite astonishing to those of us who accept it as the norm now, but there are still 165 countries left behind. It’s important to question how those who opt out of inclusion within marriage are affecting the daily lives of their LGBTQ+ citizens.

 

 

 

 


Featured image by William Murphy via Flickr CC