Northern Ireland: High Court challenge on same-sex marriage welcomed

‘Same sex couples in every part of the UK should have an equal right to marry the person they love’ - Gráinne Teggart 

Ahead of a legal challenge in Belfast’s High Court tomorrow Amnesty International has reiterated its call for Northern Ireland to lift its ban on same-sex marriage.

The High Court is set to hear an application from two couples seeking to challenge via judicial review Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is available to couples in every other part of the UK and Ireland. Northern Ireland presently stands in clear contravention of international human rights standards which specify that countries must not discriminate with regards to the right to marry and found a family on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Tomorrow’s court challenge follows a marriage equality rally in Belfast earlier this month where an estimated 20,000 people marched to demand a change in the law to allow same-sex marriage in the region. Meanwhile, the 2013 NI Life and Times Survey showed 59% of people in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriage being recognised in law in Northern Ireland.

Grainne Teggart, spokesperson for Amnesty International, said:

“Northern Ireland’s politicians have made this region a discriminatory backwater for the gay and lesbian community by repeatedly failing to legislate for marriage equality. 

“We predicted there would be this kind of legal challenge as politicians were leaving the region’s same-sex couples with no choice but to go to the courts.

“As on so many issues, Northern Ireland’s politicians lag behind the people. Between the marriage equality referendum in Ireland and legislation in the UK there is unstoppable momentum to bring equal marriage to this region.

“Same sex couples in every part of the UK should have an equal right to marry the person they love.”

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