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Same-sex marriages (SSM) and civil partnerships

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Two grooms Terminology:

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are also known as: the UK, United Kingdom (UK), and Britain. The term "Great Britain" refers to the main island which includes England, Wales and Scotland.

Certain powers, including the definition of who is eligible to marry, have been transferred from the UK government to the Northern Ireland Assembly. For this reason, the attainment of marriage equality in England and Wales during early 2014 has had no effect in the lives of loving, committed same-sex couples in Northern Ireland.

The legalization of same-sex marriage (SSM) in Scotland and in England and Wales are described in separate essays.

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The path towards marriage equality in Northern Ireland:

Some Roman Catholics. evangelical Christians and members of other conservative faith groups in Northern Ireland have a very negative attitude towards same-sex marriage. The hierarchy and clergy of some of the Christian faith groups are also strongly opposed. So are two of the political parties there -- the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP; Unionists) and the Ulster Unionist Party -- which control the Northern Ireland Assembly in early 2014. As a result, Northern Ireland may end up being the last, large, English-speaking country to adopt marriage equality.

As of 2014-MAY, the government recognizes the relationships of loving, committed same-sex couples in Northern Ireland only as civil partners. This gives the couples the same rights, privileges, and protections as marriage, but without what many couples feel is the most important right of all: to be able to call their relationship a marriage. A marriage shows that the couple have made a lifetime commitment to support each other through health and sickness. To many, a civil partnership is just something that you sign at a government office that the public is not fully familiar with.

Minority parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly have tried three times in 18 months to implement marriage equality. They have failed each time. It would seem that the next logical step would be to abandon change through legislative action, and to seek equality through the courts.

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-MAY-03
Latest update: 2014-MAY-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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