A judge in Northern Ireland heard
arguments last week in a case challenging the nation's ban on gay
After hearing two days of testimony,
the judge said he would deliver his ruling after Christmas, the BBC
After Ireland became the first nation
to legalize such unions by popular vote, all eyes turned to Northern
Ireland, the only part of the UK and Ireland that does not allow gay
and lesbian couples to marry. Gay couples may enter a civil
Lawyers representing two gay couples –
Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles (pictured) and Chris and Henry
Flanagan-Kane – argued that the marriage ban breaches Article Eight
of the European Convention on Human Rights, a claim the state denies.
The judge also heard arguments from a male couple who want their
British marriage recognized by Northern Ireland.
“There are a lot of issues raised in
this case and the other. I will give my judgment after Christmas,”
the judge said.
The Democratic Unionist Party last
month blocked a vote on the issue.
Northern Ireland Unionists “abused” agreement to derail gay