Words: Steve Brown
Same-sex couples in Northern Ireland can register to marry from today.
Northern Ireland was the only part of the UK that did not recognise same-sex marriages as well as banning abortion except when a mother’s life is at risk.
However, last year, LGBTQ citizens across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK celebrated as marriage equality and abortion rights arrived in Northern Ireland.
More than six years after legislation was passed in England and Wales allowing LGBTQ people to marry the person they love, the UK can finally say that it has marriage equality for all.
Back in July, Westminster Parliament backed marriage equality in Northern Ireland and voted that it would be introduced to the country by as early as October, unless there is a power-sharing executive formed at Stormont.
And now, the BBC report from today (January 13), same-sex couples will be able to register to marry, meaning the first ceremonies will take place in February.
For couples who are already married, their marriage will now be legally recognised in Northern Ireland.
But those in civil partnerships will not be able to convert it to a marriage at this current stage, but the Northern Ireland Office is set to begin a consultation later this year about this.
Heterosexual couples are also now able to enter into civil partnerships.