Northern Ireland gay couple discriminated against

A gay couple whose marriage in England is only recognised as a civil partnership in their native Northern Ireland are suffering unlawful discrimination, the Court of Appeal heard on Monday.

Senior judges were told the situation amounts to a violation of the two men's human rights. Granted anonymity in the case, the petitioner 'X' and his husband wed in London in 2014.

But under current laws they can only be classified as civil partners in Northern Ireland, an alleged "downgrading" of their relationship.

They are attempting to secure a declaration that their marriage remains fully constituted throughout the United Kingdom.

In August last year a High Court judge dismissed the case after identifying no breach under European law.

He held that it was up to government and parliament to provide same-sex marriage rights, not the courts.

But Petitioner X is now seeking to have that verdict overturned.

His lawyers stressed the case was about the right to equal recognition of an existing marriage performed in the UK under the law of Northern Ireland, and the related entitlement to remain married throughout the UK.

Karen Quinlivan QC, for X, argued that any heterosexual couples who wed in England remain married if they move to Northern Ireland. Read more via Belfast Telegraph