Same-sex marriage: Couple make history as first in NI

media captionRobyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards tie the knot in Northern Ireland's first same-sex marriage ceremony

A couple have tied the knot in the first same-sex marriage to take place in Northern Ireland.

Robyn Peoples, from Belfast, and Sharni Edwards, from Brighton celebrated their nuptials on Tuesday at a ceremony in a hotel in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

They met five years ago at a gay bar in Belfast.

Ahead of the ceremony, Ms Peoples, a care worker, said the pair were sending a message to the world that "we are equal".

"Our love is personal but the law which said we couldn't marry was political," she said.

"We are delighted that with our wedding, we can now say that those days are over.

"While this campaign ends with Sharni and I saying 'I do', it started with people saying 'No' to inequality.

"By standing together, we've made history."

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe couple got married in a hotel in Carrickfergus, County Antrim

Ms Edwards, a waitress from Brighton, said the couple felt humbled their wedding was a "landmark moment for equal rights in Northern Ireland".

"We didn't set out to make history - we just fell in love," she added.

"We are so grateful to the thousands of people who marched for our freedoms, to the Love Equality campaign who led the way and the politicians who voted to change the law.

"Without you, our wedding wouldn't have been possible.

"We will be forever thankful."

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe couple's married name is Edwards-Peoples

Same-sex marriage has been legal in England, Wales and Scotland since 2014.

However, this is the first week that same-sex couples in Northern Ireland can legally get married.

In July 2019, MPs backed amendments which required the government to change abortion laws and extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland if devolution was not restored by 21 October 2019.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Westminster campaigners were at a celebratory reception to thank MPs who had acted on the issue.

Sara Canning, the partner of murdered Northern Ireland journalist Lyra McKee, attended the event organised by Amnesty International and the Love Equality campaign.

Ms Canning described the marriage of Ms Peoples and Ms Edwards as a "wonderful moment".

"This really means so much and has brought me some much-needed light in what has been a dark year," she added.

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