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None of these cases are in competition, we’re all after the same thing.A win for anybody is a win for all of us.” But those “wins” didn’t materialise.One case was taken by two couples in civil partnerships, Gráinne Close and Shannon Sickles, and Chris and Henry Flanagan-Kane, claiming that their rights were being breached by Northern Ireland’s prohibition of same-sex marriage, in contravention of the entitlement to marriage and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.The other case, known as Petition X, is about the recognition of an existing marriage.“The law on marriage is a matter which is a transferred matter under the Northern Ireland Act 1998.This means that it lies within the competence of the Northern Irish executive and the Northern Irish Assembly,” the judgment on Petition X read.

“It was a two-way strategy, where instead of just asking for everybody’s marriage to be recognised, that if we opened the door slowly – if we got married in London and had a marriage certificate, if we could make our marriage recognised here – the next argument would be: why can’t people in Northern Ireland get married?

“We are critical of that viewpoint because we don’t have a functioning Assembly,” Moynagh says, “we have bias in the Assembly, and we don’t have direct rule.” After the judgment, the couple in Petition X left Belfast to spend some time with friends elsewhere in Northern Ireland. There doesn’t seem to be any foreseeable change in that situation.

Petitioner X said it was the first time he had felt actively discriminated against “I can’t help but feel personally put down by this. It’s our marriage that is being judged for its worthiness or unworthiness by this particular judge. Are our rights so second-class that we can just be put in some sort of indefinite wait?

It’s of little comfort to same-sex couples and campaigners that the issue is being kicked back to the Assembly, which is not currently functioning.

It’s difficult to imagine the DUP – vocal opponents of LGBT rights – supporting marriage equality.

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