First same-sex couple marries after Northern Ireland lifts ban
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A same-sex couple has been married for the first time in Northern Ireland after the British province's ban on gay marriage ended this week.

Reuters reported that Sharni Edwards, 27, and Robyn Peoples, 26, from Belfast became the first same-sex couple to wed in Northern Ireland after the United Kingdom's Parliament voted to end the ban during a period when Northern Ireland's legislative assembly had dissolved.

“We didn’t set out to make history. We just fell in love,” the couple said in a statement released by Love Equality, a group supporting LGBTQ rights in the U.K. “We feel humbled that our wedding is a landmark moment for equal rights in Northern Ireland.”


Though same-sex marriages are now legal in the region, couples that previously sought civil partnerships will not be eligible to transition their legal status into marriages. It was unclear which route will be open to couples who took such options in the past, but the Northern Ireland Office, which handles such matters, is set to take up the matter later this year.

Heterosexual couples are also now allowed to engage in civil partnerships in Northern Ireland under the new law, according to the BBC.

"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 marry," Labour Member of Parliament Conor McGinn, the legislation's sponsor, told the BBC.

"Everyone who values equality, love and respect can celebrate today," he added.