Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jan 13, 2020 / 17:00 pm
Same-sex marriage is now legal in Northern Ireland, after a deadline set by the UK Parliament Westminster in July 2019 passed without the province forming a government.
Prior to Jan. 13, same-sex marriages that occurred outside of Northern Ireland were not recnogized, nor could same-sex couples receive a marriage certificate. Now, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are able to enter a civil partnernship, something that was previously only available to same-sex couples.
Presently, same-sex couples in Northern Ireland who have established a civil partnership will not be able to change that designation to a marriage, although this may happen in the future. The Northern Ireland Office in Westminster will also look into the role, if any, churches will have to play in same-sex marriages.
Northern Ireland's devolved government, known as the Stormont Assembly, was suspended in Jan. 2017, and was reconstituted on Jan. 11, 2020, but too late to prevent the new law coming in to force.