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Gay marriage and abortion legal in Northern Ireland from midnight

Gay marriage and abortion legal in Northern Ireland from midnight

Gay marriage and abortion will be legal in Northern Ireland and some of the first couples in the UK to have civil partnerships are now preparing to tie the knot  Westminster MPs used their prerogative to pass laws on behalf of the region on both issues, which it was able to do due to Stormont not sitting Mock wedding receptions are underway across the province as same-sex couples celebrate the landmark  Among them are Christopher Flanagan-Kane and Henry Flanagan-Kane, who became one of the first gay couples to have a civil partnership when it became legal in December 2015   Christopher (left) and Henry Flanagan-Kane (right) are pictured at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast today celebrating the fact that they will be able to marry in Northern Ireland  They joined other couples today at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast to celebrate the change in law As pro-life and pro-choice campaigners turned out to air their feelings on the change in abortion law, DUP leader Arlene Foster said it was a ‘shameful day’, adding: ‘This is not a day of celebration for the unborn ‘Ms Foster said decriminalisation at midnight would not mark the end of efforts to prevent the introduction of abortion services in the region She said her party would explore ‘every possible legal option’ open to it.   Cara McCann and Amanda McGurk (pictured) said they will wake up a little more equal tomorrow morning MPs voted in July for legislation which requires the Government to extend same-sex marriage to the region if devolution is not restored by October 21  Today, same-sex couples ate wedding cake after a buffet surrounded by flowers and balloons, before cheering on the steps of the hotel, many holding signs which read ‘equal’ Christopher Flanagan-Kane said today: ‘We thought back in 2005 that things were moving great, because we were the first people to get it brought in, but unfortunately it didn’t go that well since ‘But we are here today and hopefully this is it changed now. We have been waiting a long, long time for this ‘It’s not just about me and Henry, we have a son as well, and it is about his rights when he grows up, to grow up in a world where he is not equal just depending on sexuality ‘We had to grow up in the world like that, denied our rights. We just want the same rights as everyone else, to be like heterosexual couples ‘Cara McCann and her partner Amanda McGurk said they felt they would be waking up ‘a little more equal’ on Tuesday morning Arlene Foster (pictured with her DUP colleagues at the Stormont Assembly today) said that it was a ‘shameful’ day for the unborn ‘We are going to be treated the same as our friends and family,’ Ms McCann said ‘We have been working on this campaign for years upon years and we never thought it would come so soon ‘Ms McGurk added: ‘It’s a big day for every same-sex couple in the north who want to get married, it will be fantastic for those who want to do so to be able to do so now ‘The event was organised by the Love Equality campaign, which is led by the Rainbow Project, Amnesty International, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, NUS-USI and Here NI Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International, said the moment comes after years of campaigning ‘Today we celebrate success, secured not because of the presence of Stormont, but because of its absence,’ he said ‘Despite overwhelming popular support for change, sadly the Executive and Assembly repeatedly failed to deliver marriage equality and abortion law reform When Stormont collapsed, we took our campaigns to Westminster. RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next And the bride wore sparkles! First look at Jennifer Lawrence First UK branch of US chicken chain Chick-fil-A will close. Share this article Share ‘This is an incredible moment for so many people, especially for same-sex couples, who will now be treated as equal citizens in their own country ‘The first sitting of the Stormont Assembly in two-and-a-half years today ended in acrimony after a last-minute bid to thwart the decriminalisation of abortion was blocked The Assembly sat after it was recalled by MLAs wishing to protest at changes to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws  At the start of proceedings in Parliament Buildings, there was an attempt by anti-abortion MLAs to fast-track a piece of private members’ legislation through in a single day to halt the abortion reform But outgoing speaker Robin Newton prevented the matter being considered. DUP Paul Givan MLA had urged the suspension of standing orders to enable the bill to be tabled However, Mr Newton said a new speaker would need to be in place before the Assembly could turn to such a legislative bid The election of a speaker requires cross-community in the chamber – such support was not forthcoming as nationalist members indicated they would not back any appointment in the absence of a powersharing executive Mr Newton said it was ‘not good practice’ to take a piece of legislation through in one day Mr Givan insisted that advice from Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin indicated that standing orders could be suspended to allow the legislation to be considered Mr Newton maintained his stance, highlighting that he had received his own legal advice on the issue The plenary sitting was dominated by unionist members representing the DUP, UUP and TUV SDLP members also attended, but leader Colum Eastwood said his party would not support a speaker if an executive was not formed Their MLAs then walked out of the chamber. Sinn Fein did not turn up to a sitting it had branded a circus  

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