NI: NI Attorney General says access to same-sex marriage is a ‘social policy’ issue

John Larkin QC
Attorney General John Larkin QC

Northern Ireland’s Attorney General John Larkin QC has denied that access to same-sex marriage is a human rights issue, telling the High Court in Belfast that it is a matter of “pure social policy”.

Mr Larkin made the remarks at a hearing in the case of a same-sex couple who are bidding for legal recognition in Northern Ireland of their marriage in England last year.

The unnamed couple, who are from Northern Ireland, are represented by barrister Karen Quinlivan and solicitor Ciaran Moynagh from McLernon Moynagh Solicitors.

Their challenge is being funded by The PILS Project NI.

Northern Ireland is the only jurisdiction across the islands of Britain and Ireland that has neither legislated nor is currently legislating to allow and recognise same-sex marriages.

At present, same-sex marriages are recognised as civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.

Mr Justice O’Hara asked Mr Larkin whether the legal position in respect of same-sex marriage should be the same across the whole UK.

Mr Larkin told the court that the issue is one for the Northern Ireland Assembly rather than the courts: “Being a transferred matter, it’s for the devolved administration and the executive.”

The case continues.

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