Same-sex couple who married in England were discriminated against in Northern Ireland

A same-sex couple who married in England but were treated as civil partners on their return to Northern Ireland were discriminated against, the Court of Appeal in Belfast has ruled.

However, as with a similar judgment earlier this month, judges said there was no purpose to be served by making a declaration under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 because the law had since changed.

In the earlier case, the court concluded that the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland had become unlawful by summer 2017 as more countries, including Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, changed their laws.

Delivering the judgment, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, said the judges “are satisfied that exactly the same issues arise in this case”.

Same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships were eventually introduced in Northern Ireland in 2020 under provisions of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

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