Friday, 28 March 2014
All people are equal, but some are about to be more equal than others
In a few short hours same-sex couples will start to get married in England and Wales. They could honeymoon in Scotland as a married couple, but should they want to visit the Giant's Causeway, the Titanic Quarter or the Marble Arch caves here in Northern Ireland they will only be civil partnered.
"What??" I hear you say.
Yes one of the lesser known parts of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is that those wonderfully new same-sex marriages that everyone is celebrating getting closer to reality will not been seen as marriages in part of the UK.
Of course many people know that Northern Ireland is not for the time being following swiftly on the heels of England and Wales, as Scotland is, by introducing equal marriage. But did you know that is a place that fights over whether the Union Flag is to be flown or not. Where the First Minister is a staunch defender of the Queen, her flag and all things British that not all UK marriages from 29 March 2014 onwards are going to be recognised in the most staunchly loyal part of Her Majesty's Kingdom.
If a same-sex couple from Northern Ireland get married in England or Wales tomorrow (or any time after that), or if a same-sex couple from England, Wales or Scotland relocate here their marriage will only be a civil partnership.
So while you are celebrating all the new marriages that are possible from midnight please don;t forget that we are far from equal here in Northern Ireland and a lot of work still needs to be done.