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LGBT groups welcome legal challenge to Northern Ireland’s gay marriage ban

Joseph McCormick November 9, 2015

A legal challenge to Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage has been welcomed by LGBT groups.

Today, The Rainbow Project, the largest LGBT support and advocacy organisation in Northern Ireland, welcomes the first legal challenge to the bans on same-sex marriage within the region.

The case, entitled ‘X’s Petition’, involves two men from Northern Ireland who were lawfully married in England in 2014. However, the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 mandates that they should only be recognised as civil partners in Northern Ireland.

The married couple are now seeking a declaration from the Family Court, that they remain lawfully married in Northern Ireland.

Their case is being supported by The Rainbow Project and funded by PILS (Public Interest Litigation Support).

Speaking ahead of the hearing, John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said:
“We are very happy to support this important legal challenge to the UK’s irrational patchwork of marriage laws, which has been created by the Westminster government.

“X and his husband are married. It is really that simple. They were lawfully married and their marriage remains lawful in Northern Ireland. It is without precedent that a married person stops being married when they travel to different parts of the UK and it is hugely insulting to X and his husband that their marriage could be reclassified without their consent and called a civil partnership when it is not.

“It is unfortunate that private citizens must pick up the burden of ensuring equal treatment for LGBT people under the law but, when legislatures are unwilling or unable to do this, we are grateful that brave individuals like X and his husband can speak truth to power and stand up for their fundamental human rights.”

More: legal challenge, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland

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