Gay couple to challenge North of Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage on religious grounds

Gay couple to challenge North of Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage on religious grounds

A GAY couple who married in London last year are to challenge the North of Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage in the High Court on religious grounds.

The men wed in a ceremony in England in September 2014, but back in their home their marriage is regarded as a civil partnership.

The couple will take their case to the High Court in Belfast arguing that the failure to recognise their marriage is discriminatory against their Christian beliefs.

It follows a case taken by two same-sex couples claiming a breach of human rights, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The couple’s solicitor Ciaran Moynagh said: "They are saying the downgrading of their marriage isn't lawful and one of the aspects is that they are arguing that their religious liberty is being infringed.

"The petitioner says that he has a belief in God, within the liberal Christian tradition, and he chose to have a religious marriage.

“Northern Irish law does not recognise their marriage as a marriage, and that therefore denies them their right to manifest their beliefs."

The couple, who cannot be named, say that the current law in the North of Ireland infringes their religious beliefs.

Following the introduction of same-sex marriage in England, they chose to get married in London, as a civil partnership bore no religious meaning.

The case will be heard on the same day as a separate judicial review brought by Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles and Chris and Henry Flanagan-Kane.

The two couples were the first in the North of Ireland to enter into civil partnerships when they were introduced 10 years ago.

Close and Sickles and the Flanagan-Kanes will argue that the ban is an infringement of their human rights, rather than their religious beliefs.