- 07 Dec 20
While same-sex couples have been allowed to marry in Northern Ireland since February, couples already in civil partnerships were excluded.
Cara McCann and Amanda McGurk, the first couple to transform their civil partnership into marriage in Northern Ireland, were married in Belfast this morning.
Couples in over 1, 300 same-sex civil partnerships will be allowed to tie the knot in Northern Ireland from today forward. The law was officially changed after a long Westminster campaign during the Stormont shutdown.
Gay marriage was an issue that stopped Stormont reforming a power-sharing executive for multiple years. While it was absent, parliament pushed for ministers to introduce the significantly important change.
"We fought long and hard for the right to marry," said Ms. McCann, who called today a "wonderful day".
"We want to thank everyone who was part of this great movement for love and equality," she continued, "and which has delivered this wonderful, positive change for our society. It is just surreal that this day has come and we feel so much more equal and valued today once we received our marriage certificate.
"Marriage is universal, everyone across the globe knows what a marriage is. We grew up not saying, 'I cannot wait to get a civil partnership', we grew up saying, 'I cannot wait to get married'."
While gay couples were previously allowed to marry in Northern Ireland, the previous reforms excluded those already in civil partnerships.
Northern Ireland's largest party is the DUP, and they are strongly opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Conor Murphy, Stormont Finance Minister, noted 32 couples have planned to convert their civil partnerships this week.