Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Northern Ireland set to end gay marriage & abortion ban

Northern Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage ban and restrictions on abortion will come to an end.

Campaigners who have fought for decades celebrated the historic changes today as a last-ditch bid to block them ended in chaos and acrimony.

Tonight the UK government confirmed a framework for legal abortion services in Northern Ireland will be in place by 31 March 2020.

And same-sex marriage regulations will be made no later than 13 January 2020.

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith declared: "This means, at the latest, the first civil same-sex marriages will take place on the week of Valentine's Day 2020."

It will take longer to allow religious same-sex marriage ceremonies, or convert existing civil partnerships, because a "short consultation" is needed.

Northern Ireland has been the only part of the United Kingdom that does not allow same-sex marriage.

And it has a ban on abortions in almost all cases, even rape or incest, except where a mother's life is at risk.