A judge in Northern Ireland heard arguments last week in a case challenging the nation's ban on gay marriage.

After hearing two days of testimony, the judge said he would deliver his ruling after Christmas, the BBC reported.

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 partnership.

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.

(Related: NYT: Northern Ireland Unionists “abused” agreement to derail gay marriage bill.)