What's Happening with Gay Marriage in Northern Ireland?


By U.S. Central Intelligence Agency [Public domain], via
Wikimedia Commons



Gay marriage is about to become legal in England and Wales.

In Scotland the first same-sex weddings are expected to take place in the summer of 2014.

What about in Northern Ireland?


There are currently no plans to legalise gay marriage in Northern Ireland. Making it the only country in the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is unrecognised by the law.

Traditionally, there has been strong opposition to equal marriage both in the Northern Ireland Assembly and among the country’s population. It’s a frustrating time for Northern Irish gay couples, and on February 5th  2014, Gay Star News reported that a number of couples were threatening to sue the Government, but it’s uncertain to how successful this will be.

Beyond the corridors of power however, there does appear to be some significant change to public opinion. On February 24th 2014, the Belfast Telegraph reported on the results of a survey suggesting opposition to gay relationships had halved.

These results, taken from Queen’s University, Belfast, examined the results of two surveys taken twenty years apart.  Comparing the data, they found that in 1989, 76% of people were against gay relationships, but in 2012 it was down to 28%.

Is this enough however, in the face of lasting political opposition, to bring about a change in the law? It’s difficult to say. Certainly following Scotland’s historic vote, it’s an issue unlikely to go away. In the meantime, Northern Ireland will continue to allow civil partnerships.












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