Two gay couples trying to redefine marriage in Northern Ireland have been granted permission for a judicial review.
During a hearing at Belfast High Court on Friday, Mr Justice Treacy said there is an “arguable case”.
The couples are claiming that gay marriage is a “human rights issue”.
The case is expected to return to the courts in September.
MLAs have voted four times in three years against introducing same-sex marriage in the Province.
In April, MLAs voted 49 to 47 against a motion calling for the redefinition of marriage. There were three abstentions.
The Private Members’ Motion, tabled by four Sinn Fein MLAs, called for the Minister of Finance and Personnel to introduce gay marriage legislation.
It also called on the Assembly to “welcome” May’s referendum on redefining marriage in the Republic of Ireland.
A change to Ireland’s constitution to allow same-sex marriage was backed by 62 per cent of voters, with 38 per cent opposed.
Concerns had been raised before polling day about intimidation of ‘No’ voters, with pictures appearing on social media of pro-traditional marriage posters being taken down in Dublin.
Ahead of the vote, Irish sports star Ger Brennan said he opposed the change because children are best raised by a mother and father.
He also commented that he was “sick of the accusations being flung around that if you vote ‘No’ you are homophobic”.