Equality for LGBT couples as Northern Ireland sees first legal same-sex marriage

11 February, 2020

Northern Ireland has heralded in a historic law change, with the first legal same-sex marriage taking place in Carrickfergus today.

Northern Ireland Humanists has described it as an ‘incredible day’ for LGBT rights after decades of campaigning for legal same-sex marriages. The first marriage is a civil marriage, but Northern Ireland Humanists is looking forward to holding the first legal humanist same-sex marriage for a couple next month.

The first couple to get married under the law change are expected to wed in a ceremony today in Carrickfergus. Northern Ireland now joins the rest of the UK in legalising same-sex marriages after the UK Parliament passed an Act last year which also legalised abortion.

Humanist marriages are rapidly growing in popularity in Northern Ireland since they gained legal recognition in 2018. Late last year Northern Ireland Humanists erected billboards across Belfast celebrating the same-sex marriage law change with the slogan ‘Love wins for everyone.’

Northern Ireland Humanists Coordinator Boyd Sleator said: ‘Today is a truly momentous day. In Northern Ireland we finally have equality for LGBT couples who can now marry the person they love and receive the same legal rights as anyone else. This has been a long time coming and we celebrate with our LGBT friends right across the country.

‘Our celebrants are now looking forward to working with many couples this year in crafting bespoke humanist ceremonies that are reflective of the humanist beliefs and values of the couples involved, and conducted by a celebrant who shares their beliefs and values.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

Read more about the NI same-sex marriage law change.

Read more about our ‘Love Wins’ billboards.

Read more about our work on same-sex marriages

Northern Ireland Humanists is a part of Humanists UK, working with the Humanist Association of Ireland. Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.