NI: Gay couple launch legal bid to redefine marriage

A gay couple in Northern Ireland have launched a legal challenge to try to redefine marriage in the Province.

The couple had a same-sex wedding in England and are claiming that their marriage should be recognised in Northern Ireland.

Their case was raised for the first time during a private hearing at Belfast’s High Court last Thursday and was adjourned for six weeks – an anonymity order for the couple was granted.

Voted against

Northern Ireland’s elected MLAs have voted against redefining marriage three times in 19 months – most recently in April last year.

But homosexual lobby group the Rainbow Project, which is backing the couple’s legal case, claims that the law in Northern Ireland is “irrational”.

Director John O’Doherty said: “We are resolute in our assertion that no-one can be married in one part of the United Kingdom and then not married in another.”

Outright majority

Last April a private member’s motion to redefine marriage 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.”

Ridden roughshod

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.

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