A homosexual lobby group says it is preparing a test case to try to redefine marriage in Northern Ireland.
The Rainbow Project claims the current system, where gay couples can enter a civil partnership but marriage is defined between a man and a woman, is “unjustifiable”.
Northern Ireland’s elected MLAs have voted against redefining marriage three times in 19 months – most recently in April this year.
However, the Rainbow Project told online news agency BuzzFeed: “Preparations are underway to advance a claim of discrimination”, adding: “There is a couple that is interested in a test case.”
Gavin Boyd, from the group, said: “The legal challenge as it is planned involves two people who were lawfully married in England returning home to Northern Ireland, where they are no longer considered to be married”.
In April a private member’s motion on the issue was tabled by six MLAs from the Alliance, Sinn Fein and Green parties.
It was defeated by an outright majority, and prompted traditional marriage supporters to say those pushing for a change should “take the hint”.
The Christian Institute’s Callum Webster said at the time: “The people of Northern Ireland are clearly opposed to redefining marriage and it’s only the political elite who are trying to force the change on the Province.”
He added: “Just because politicians in Westminster have ridden roughshod over the opinions of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens and redefined marriage, doesn’t mean Northern Ireland needs to follow suit”.
In April 2013 the Assembly voted down a motion on same-sex marriage by 53 votes to 42.
In October 2012, a similar motion was defeated by 50 votes to 45.