Northern Ireland finally gets 'full marriage equality' with civil unions law change



A new law change in Northern Ireland means 1,000 same-sex couples can now convert their civil partnerships to marriages.

The move is “the last stage in achieving full marriage equality” in the country, reports Amnesty.

Civil partnered couples will have a three-year window to convert to married status through a short administrative process, according to the human rights organisation. Fees will be waived during the first year.

The law change was introduced by Northern Ireland Minister Robin Walker yesterday and follows the legalisation of same-sex civil marriage on 13 January and same-sex religious marriage on 1 September.

The new law change comes into effect on 7 December.

“This law change is the final piece of the jigsaw"

Patrick Corrigan, Director of Amnesty International Northern Ireland, part of the Love Equality coalition, commented: “This law change is the final piece of the jigsaw in bringing marriage equality to Northern Ireland.

“It’s a huge day of celebration. We fought to change the law so it would cherish all couples and all families equally and now we have achieved that - first with civil marriage, then religious marriage and now finally, with civil partnership conversion.

“We want to thank all our supporters at Westminster and Stormont, including Ministers and officials, who helped us to deliver this change. And to all the couples, their families, friends and the wider community in Northern Ireland who gave this campaign unstoppable momentum – this win is yours.”

There are currently 29 countries offering marriage equality worldwide. The first was The Netherlands in 2001.

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