Northern Ireland is set to witness its first same-sex marriage on February 11 after the government lifted the ban on gay marriage in the province. The lifting of ban marked the legalisation of practice throughout Britain following a vote by UK lawmakers when the province lacked a sitting government. Robyn Peoples, 26, and Sharni Edwards, 27, will become the first gay couple from the province to get married, said the Love Equality campaign group in a statement. Robyn, who is a healthcare worker from Belfast, will marry Sharni, a waitress originally from Brighton, in Carrickfergus, County Antrim on Tuesday.
📹 Finance Minister @conormurphysf and @CommunitiesNI Minister @DeirdreHargey congratulate @Love_EqualityNI & all those involved in the campaign for marriage equality ahead of the first same-sex marriage taking place tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/21QEO21u4B— Dept of Finance (@dptfinance) February 10, 2020
Speaking at Belfast City Hall, Finance Minister Conor Murphy called it a very important milestone for equality when same-sex couples can get married for the first time. Murphy paid tribute to all those who have been involved in that campaign over many years. “In this building at City Hall, there will be weddings taking place in the near future for citizens who now have equal rights to marry the person they love and that is a huge moment in a very long-running campaign,” said Murphy.
Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey expressed her delight to be present at the City Hall to recognise the historic week. She also commended the activists at the grassroots who campaigned for the change. “As Minister for Communities, I want to embed a rights-based approach within my Department and all that I do and obviously the Sexual Orientation Strategy is going to be a key focus for me in the time ahead.” Lord Mayor of Belfast, Daniel Baker called it an important day for all those who have ‘tirelessly campaigned’ for marriage equality over the years. Baker said that she felt very proud to be a part of a city that recognises same-sex marriage.