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Friday, August 18, 2017

Time for Northern Ireland to legalise equal marriage

The ruling by a judge in Northern Ireland yesterday, rejecting a challenge to the province's ban on equal marriage, underlines the need for Stormont to catch up with the rest of the UK on this issue.

The Guardian reports that Mr Justice O’Hara rejected both cases challenging the ban, insisting it did not violate the rights of LGBT couples. He said it was up to the Stormont assembly to decide social policy in Northern Ireland.

The two couples brought the case against the department of finance, which regulates Northern Ireland’s marriage laws, on the grounds that the ban contravenes the right to marriage and respect for family life under the European convention on human rights.

It is possible that they will now seek to take their case to a higher court, but wouldn't it be much easier if Northern Ireland's Legislative Assembly pre-empted them by bringing the province up to speed with other parts of the UK?

It is time Northern Ireland joined the twenty-first century on social policy.
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