The landmark changes came into effect at midnight
Same-sex marriage and abortion became legal for the first time ever in Northern Ireland today.
The changes came as a result of legislation that was passed by MPs in Westminster back in July, during a Commons debate aimed at keeping Northern Ireland up to date with UK human rights law in the current absence of its government.
It was agreed that if the Northern Irish government had not been reformed by 21stOctober, then the respective bans on equal marriage and abortion would officially be lifted.
The first same-sex marriage ceremonies are set to take place by Valentine’s Day 2020, with the government being given up until the end of March next year to come up with regulations for the provision of abortion services.
The progressive changes came just one day after the DUP returned to the Northern Irish parliament, after what has been almost a three year absence, to protest against abortion being legalised. DUP leader Arlene Foster lead the charge by announcing that the party would explore ‘every possible legal option’open to it to ensure that the amendment did not pass.
But as of midnight today, it did, and same-sex couples and women alike have been celebrating the historical changes since, with grassroots organisation Room For Rebellion posting this defiant pic on its Insta page to celebrate Northern Ireland’s progression.
Same-sex couples and marriage equality campaigners also gathered yesterday at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast to welcome the change, by eating wedding cake and surrounding themselves with flowers, balloons and colourful signs which read ‘equal.’ The event was organized by the Love Equality campaign group.
What a memorable day for Northern Ireland!! Now just time to get that government back up and running again…