A legal challenge to the ban on same sex marriage in Northern Ireland is due to reach the High Court in Belfast this month.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom yet to legalise gay marriage. Members of the Assembly in Stormont rejected a motion to do so for the third time in May last year.
But the unnamed couple, who married in England before moving to Northern Ireland, have launched legal proceedings in the Belfast High Court, seeking legal acceptance for their marriage.
They have asked the court to make a legal declaration that their marriage is valid in the Province and should be recognised by the authorities. Reporting restrictions mean the couple cannot be identified.
Their legal challenge has received backing from gay rights organisation the Rainbow Project, a prominent Northern Irish gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights organisation.
Director John O’Doherty said they had been happy to support the challenge. The ban was a breach of the couple’s human rights, he declared.
“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.”
Marriage was “a fundamental human right,” he declared.