Gay Couples Challenge Northern Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Northern Ireland’s same-sex marriage ban is now under judicial review.

Two same-sex couples are behind the legal challenge: Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles, and Charles and Henry Flanagan-Kane. Interestingly, these were the first couples to receive a civil partnership back in 2003.

For them, the same-sex marriage ban is discriminative: it represents an unfair, unjust and unwarranted violation of their rights. And they’re not alone; an IPSOS-MORI poll in July found that 68% of people in the country were in favour of gay marriage. 

Northern Ireland is the only country in the United Kingdom not to allow same-sex marriage, and the problem isn’t the public; it’s political. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) continues to block any attempt at getting a bill through parliament.

So if a political answer can’t be found, campaigners are hopeful that a legal one will. And this isn’t the only court case: another same-sex couple has already launched their own bid. Married in England, the two men want their marriage recognised in Northern Ireland.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the New Year. One thing is certain, however, campaigners aren’t backing down.

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