Same-sex marriage is now legally recognized in Northern Ireland, beginning today. This historical recognition has been a long time coming. Same-sex marriages have been legally recognized in England, Scotland and Wales since 2014, and same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland has been legal since 2015. Marriage equality passed in Northern Ireland in the fall of 2019, but didn’t become legally available until today.

Rosalind Stephens, left, with Vicky Trimble
Rosalind Stephens, left, with Vicky Trimble. Read their story here.

Because couples have to indicate their intention to marry 28 days before doing so, the first weddings are expected to be held in the week of Valentine’s Day. For couples who are already married, their marriage will now be legally recognized in Northern Ireland. However, those who are already in a civil partnership will not be able to convert it to a marriage at this stage. The Northern Ireland Office is set to begin a consultation later this year about converting civil partnerships and the role of churches in same-sex marriages. Heterosexual couples will also be able to enter into civil partnerships beginning today.

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