Gay and lesbian couples in Northern
Ireland began registering to marry as a new marriage law took effect
Northern Ireland was the only part of
the United Kingdom where same-sex couples could not wed.
Last year, lawmakers in the UK
overwhelmingly backed a plan to extend marriage equality to the
region if the Northern Irish government remained at a standstill
after three additional months. A similar vote was adopted on access
to adoption. The laws went into effect after a last-ditch attempt by
local lawmakers to block the changes collapsed.
Labour MP Conor McGinn, who introduced
the change in the law, called Monday a “good day” for Northern
"It's a good day for Northern
Ireland, an important day for citizens' rights across these islands
and an exciting day for same-sex couples who can now register to
told the BBC.
Gay couples began marrying in England
and Wales more than six years ago.
Couples who register must wait 28 days
before marrying, which means the first same-sex weddings in Northern
Ireland will take place the week of Valentine's Day.