Same-sex marriage campaigners in Northern Ireland have been dealt a double defeat after the High Court today ruled against two cases involving gay couples seeking same-sex marriage – but have vowed to appeal the rulings.
Currently, only civil partnerships are available to same-sex couples in the region.
In a judgement that was previously expected to pave the way to full marriage rights in Northern Ireland – the only part of the UK not to allow same-sex marriage – Mr Justice O’Hara dismissed a case involving a gay couple who married in England in 2014 who argued that their marriage should not be downgraded to a civil partnership on returning home to Northern Ireland.
He also dismissed a second case from two further gay couples who sought a judicial review into the Northern Ireland Assembly’s failure to introduce same-sex marriage, by arguing that it was a contravention of human rights not to allow same-sex couples to marry.
O'Hara ruled: “It is not at all difficult to understand how gay men and lesbians who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same sex marriage. However, the judgment which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on the law.”
The ruling continued: "While the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission supports an equal level of human rights protection across the United Kingdom, its Chief Commissioner wrote on 11 June 2012 that 'the restriction of marriage to opposite sex couples does not violate the international standards and this is clear from both the international treaties and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Committee.' In my view the Chief Commissioner was correct to make that statement." Read more via Buzzfeed
Our application for same sex marriage to be allowed in ni is dismissed. Our clients are intending to app this decision. V disappointing— LOCC Solicitors (@LOCCSolicitors) August 17, 2017