Two cases calling for gay marriage in Northern Ireland dismissed

Sinn Féin say the campaign will remain as focused as ever

Two cases calling for gay marriage in Northern Ireland dismissed

Image: rainbow-project.org

Two cases calling for same-sex marriage to be recognised in Northern Ireland have been dismissed by the Belfast High Court.

The first saw two men calling for their union accepted under the law.

They were married in England but moved to Belfast. Legally that marriage had been changed to a civil partnership.

The couple's solicitor, Ciaran Moynah, says the case might not end here.

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.

Gavin Boyd is from the support and advocacy organisation, The Rainbow Project.

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

The couples involved reacted outside court, and vowed to keep on fighting.

In a statement, The Rainbow Project said: "Of course we are bitterly disappointed for our clients who just wanted to be treated the same as everyone else.

"They were lawfully married in England and all they sought was recognition of their marriage at home in Northern Ireland.

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

"We know that this decision will be very disappointing for our clients and we thank them for their courage in seeking this declaration, not only for themselves, but for every LGBT person in Northern Ireland.

"However, the battle for marriage equality in Northern Ireland continues and although we will study the judgment and consult with our clients and legal team about the prospects of a successful appeal, this judgment makes clear that it is the ultimate responsibility of legislators to protect the marriage rights of LGBT people.

"Of course, we would prefer that the Northern Ireland Assembly were in a position to grant these rights; the assembly is not currently functioning.

"It is, therefore, the responsibility of Theresa May's government to make the necessary amendments to the marriage legislation to make it applicable in Northern Ireland."

Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield, added: "It is unfortunate that the case was not successful today but I am certain that the campaign for marriage equality will remain as focused, vibrant, and energetic as ever.

"The position of the DUP with regards marriage equality remains completely untenable."

Northern Ireland remains the only region of Ireland or the UK where gay marriage is not recognised.

Additional reporting: Jack Quann