Starting December 7, gay and lesbian
couples in Northern Ireland will be able to convert their civil union
Gay couples started exchanging vows in
February after same-sex marriage abruptly became a reality following
years of stagnation. Changes to the marriage law were implemented by
UK lawmakers last year as the Northern Ireland government remained at
Northern Ireland was the remaining
holdout without marriage equality in the United Kingdom.
According to Amnesty
International UK, Northern Ireland has more than 1,000 civil
unioned same-sex couples.
The first civil union conversions are
expected to take place on December 7 as the law change comes into
Couples in such unions will have three
years to convert their civil union to marriage. Fees will be waived
during the first year.
Amnesty International Northern Ireland
Director Patrick Corrigan described the law change as “the final
piece of the jigsaw in bringing marriage equality to Northern
“It’s a huge day of celebration,”
Corrigan said in a statement. “We fought to change the law so it
would cherish all couples and all families equally and now we have
achieved that – first with civil marriage, then religious marriage
and now finally, with civil partnership conversion.”