SAME-SEX couples are able to get married in Northern Ireland from today.
More than 1,300 same-sex couples will be able to transform their civil partnership into marriage despite staunch opposition from Northern Ireland’s biggest political party the DUP.
While same-sex couples were already able to get married following a passing of new laws earlier this year, those reforms initially excluded those in civil partnerships.
However, in October, Northern Ireland minister Robin Walker introduced the new regulations to the UK Parliament, with the updated changes also allowing people in civil partnerships to get married retrospectively.
While lockdown delayed the changes, according to Stormont finance minister Conor Murphy as many as 30 same-sex couples are planning to tie the knot this week.
Among them are Love Equality campaigners Cara McCann and Amanda McGurk, who were wed in Belfast this past Monday morning.
🎥 From today, couples in more than 1,300 same sex civil partnerships can tie the knot in Northern Ireland.
Cara McCann and Amanda McGurk say they’ve fought long and hard for the right to marry. pic.twitter.com/5vfVDsuaF6
— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) December 7, 2020
The happy newlyweds were the first to tie the knot under the new laws and hailed the move as a “positive change for our society”.
"We fought long and hard for the right to marry,"” McCann told Sky News.
She added: "We want to thank everyone who was part of this great movement for love and equality, and which has delivered this wonderful, positive change for our society.
"It is just surreal that this day has come and we feel so much more equal and valued today once we received our marriage certificate.
Congratulations Cara and Amanda! After years of campaigning, lobbying, and sharing your story - you are now legally wife and wife! @Love_EqualityNI #LoveWins #LoveEquality #LoveisLove pic.twitter.com/8UqZKdbCgx
— Here (@Here_NI) December 7, 2020
"Marriage is universal, everyone across the globe knows what a marriage is.
"We grew up not saying, 'I cannot wait to get a civil partnership', we grew up saying, 'I cannot wait to get married'."