A gay couple is to present a legal challenge to the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is now the only part of the United Kingdom that does not allow same-sex marriage.
The couple behind the legal challenge married in England but live in Northern Ireland. It is alleged that failure to recognise the marriage infringes on their rights.
The couple has been granted an anonymity order and is backed by gay rights activist group the Rainbow Project.
Rainbow Project director John O’Doherty said:
“While same-sex marriage legislation in Westminster had many positive aspects, we believe that its provision forbidding the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland is irrational, contrary to principles of British constitutional law and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
“We are resolute in our assertion that no-one can be married in one part of the United Kingdom and then not married in another.
“Once a couple is lawfully married in the UK, we contend that their relationship cannot be reclassified as a civil partnership without their consent which is exactly what the law currently does.
“The legislation says to lawfully married people that they are no longer married. This is unconscionable and cannot be permitted to continue."
The province’s governing Democratic Unionist Party remains strongly opposed to gay rights and has blocked a series of attempts to bring in gay marriage.
Watch a report on the Northern Ireland Assembly's latest rejection of same-sex marriage last April, AFTER THE JUMP…
The first same-sex marriages took place in Scotland at the end of last month.