By VIEW editor Brian Pelan
Campaigners have vowed to fight on after the High Court in Belfast dismissed two cases challenging Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Delivering his judgement, a judge said it was for the Stormont Assembly, and not a judge, to decide social policy.
Same-sex marriage is legal in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, but is banned in Northern Ireland.
Shannon Sickles, Grainne Close, and Chris and Henry Flanagan-Kane were amongst those challenging Stormont’s refusal to legislate for same-sex marriage.
Ms Close said she was “devastated” by the ruling.
“For us, this is a personal matter,” she said.
“We have families and our children are being treated differently because of today’s result.”
Her partner, Ms Sickles, said they would continue their legal challenge.
Speaking after the judgment, Director of The Rainbow Project John O’Doherty said: “Of course we are bitterly disappointed for our clients who just wanted to be treated the same as everyone else.
“They were lawfully married in England and all they sought was recognition of their marriage at home in Northern Ireland.
“Today, the court was unwilling to grant them this simple recognition of their lawful marriage. We know that this decision will be very disappointing for our clients and we thank them for their courage in seeking this declaration, not only for themselves, but for every LGBT person in Northern Ireland.”
Mr O’Doherty added: “However, the battle for marriage equality in Northern Ireland continues and although we will study the judgment and consult with our clients and legal team about the prospects of a successful appeal, this judgment makes clear that it is the ultimate responsibility of legislators to protect the marriage rights of LGBT people.”