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Campaigners hail first same-sex wedding in Northern Ireland

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Finance Minister Conor Murphy, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey and the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Daniel Baker, with Cara McCann (left) from Love Equality NI and Amanda McGurk (right) at Belfast City Hall

Finance Minister Conor Murphy, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey and the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Daniel Baker, with Cara McCann (left) from Love Equality NI and Amanda McGurk (right) at Belfast City Hall

Finance Minister Conor Murphy, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey and the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Daniel Baker, with Cara McCann (left) from Love Equality NI and Amanda McGurk (right) at Belfast City Hall

A Belfast couple is set to make history today ahead of Northern Ireland's first ever same-sex wedding.

Robyn Peoples (26) and Sharni Edwards (27) will tie the knot in Carrickfergus this afternoon following a landmark law change in Westminster last year.

Campaigners will also mark the occasion with a celebratory event in Westminster.

Speaking ahead of her big day, Ms Peoples said her wedding message was one of equality.

"Our love is personal, but the law which said we couldn't marry was political. 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." Ms Edwards said she felt "humbled" their wedding will become a landmark event for equal rights. "We didn't set out to make history - we just fell in love," she said.

Joining activists in London will be Sara Canning, the partner of the journalist Lyra McKee who was shot dead by republicans in Londonderry last April.

"What a wonderful moment in our history. This really means so much and has brought me some much-needed light in what has been a dark year," she said.

"I know Lyra would have been so overjoyed to see this day."

Other speakers at the London event will include Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith and the Labour MP Conor McGinn, who helped to introduce the legislation.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Director of Amnesty International, called it "a landmark moment for equality in Northern Ireland".

He said: "People in Northern Ireland have had to fight longer, harder and overcome more obstacles to win equal marriage than anywhere else in the UK or Ireland. We are proud of the LGBT community here and the thousands who marched alongside them to ensure this day became a reality. In winning this campaign, we haven't just changed the law, we've changed Northern Ireland for the better."

Belfast Telegraph