Northern Ireland news

First same-sex weddings in Northern Ireland to take place on Valentine's Day

Same-sex weddings are set to take place in the north from Valentine's Day next year

The first same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland are set to take place on Valentine's Day next year.

Campaigners for marriage equality say British government ministers have confirmed same-sex marriage will be legal from January 13, with couples having to wait 28 days after they submit their notice of intention to marry before they can have a ceremony. This will make February 14 the first day when same-sex couples can marry.

The change to the law on same-sex marriage follows amendments from Labour MPs Conor McGinn and Stella Creasy to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, which was backed by MPs in July, to compel the British government to change the government at Stormont has not returned by October 21.

MPs also voted to extend abortion access to the north.

Speaking in the House of Lords last night, Northern Ireland Office Minister Lord Duncan of Springbank said: "Get ready for Valentine’s Day, because that is when they can do it. I can think of no better time than Valentine’s Day."

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International, part of the Love Equality campaign for marriage equality said: “We are now working closely with government ministers and officials to ensure that the legislative obligations are met, in time and in full, so that couples here can start to enjoy the same rights as elsewhere in the UK and Ireland.

“We now look forward to the sound of Valentine’s Day wedding bells.

“We thank everyone who has worked with us and supported this campaign - especially Conor McGinn MP and Lord Robert Hayward for their steadfast commitment to the cause of equality.”

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