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Same-sex couples in England and Wales tying the knot

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force in England and Wales last July but it was not until 13th March 2014 that couples were able to register their intention to marry under the Act for the first time.  The first same-sex marriages took place on 29th March 2014.  The Prime Minister hailed the introduction of gay marriages in England and Wales as “historic” and offered his “…best wishes to those about to be (married) on this historic day”.Scotland has followed suit with same-sex marriages expected to occur this Autumn. 

However, the Northern Ireland Assembly has no such plans to introduce similar legislation here to allow same-sex marriage.  This has sparked much debate among the general public and Stormont ministers. 

On 18th February, Lord Wilson, a judge sitting in the Supreme Court, addressed an audience at Queens University.  He queried whether Northern Ireland would, in the long term, be “…able to hold back the tide in favour of same-sex marriages”.  He said that he was in no position to disagree with those who believed for religious reasons that marriage can only be entered into by people of the opposite sex, however, he also stated that marriage “…can be invalid for religious purposes yet valid for secular purposes”.

 A full copy of his speech can be read here.  Furthermore, you can read about the findings of a local survey regarding attitudes to same-sex marriage here.