Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland: the appeal in Sickles & Anor

As we noted at the time, in Close & Ors, Re Judicial Review [2017] NIQB 79, O’Hara J had dismissed a challenge to Article 6 of the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 by two same-sex couples who had entered into civil partnerships in 2005. The applicants – Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles, and Chris and Henry Flanagan-Kane – had been the first two couples to register civil partnerships following the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, and they contended that the effect of the ECHR, as incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998, was to render the denial of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland unlawful. Since the first-instance hearing, however, the UK Parliament had made the Marriage (Same-sex Couples) and Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2019.

The Court of Appeal has today, 7 April, handed down judgment on their appeal against O’Hara J’s judgment. Continue reading