Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Judge upholds same-sex marriage ban in Northern Ireland

Judge upholds same-sex marriage ban in Northern Ireland Judge upholds same-sex marriage ban in Northern Ireland
Christy Curtis | 18 August, 2017, 00:22

THE High Court in Belfast has ruled that same-sex marriage can not be recognised in Northern Ireland.

Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles entered into a civil partnership in Northern Ireland in 2005 and they were party to the case that led to today's proceedings.

A second case saw two couples arguing that their human rights were being breached by not being allowed a same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Mr Justice O'Hara ruled on the two separate cases that were heard together due to the similarities of the arguments.

Currently, fifteen European countries have legalized same-sex marriage: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (except for Northern Ireland).

"It is not at all hard to understand how gay men and lesbians who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same sex marriage", Justice John O'Hara said.

When they moved to Northern Ireland their marriage was changed to a Civil Partnership.

"Today, the court was unwilling to grant them this simple recognition of their lawful marriage".

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Katherine Zappone, Independent TD for Dublin South West and campaigner for marriage equality tweeted about the result expressing her disappointment about the verdict. He added that it was for the nation's politicians to decide social policy in Northern Ireland.

A majority of Assembly members backed a law change the last time the issue came to the floor of Stormont, but the DUP triggered a contentious voting mechanism to effectively block the measure.

And she recently said the party would do "everything in its power" to resist calls from the UK to relax anti-abortion laws - putting her on a potential collision course with the UK Prime Minister in future. However, the judgment which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on the law. They contended the ban breaches their human rights.

They also claim that the government discriminated against them when it "downgraded" their marriage when they moved to Northern Ireland. But the DUP stopped the motion from passing by using an effective veto, known as a "petition of concern" to strike down the bill.

However, on the same-sex marriage, both of the traditionally Catholic parties - Sinn Fein, long associated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and the moderate SDLP - support ending the ban.

"The work will continue, the wind is to our back".

He told Q Radio that Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has a responsibility to act.

In proceedings issued against the Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland was described as "a blot on the map" seen by the rest of the world as backward-looking and divided.

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