PM urged to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland amid Stormont impasse
A same-sex couple have called on Prime Minister Theresa May to legalise marriage for LGBT couples in Northern Ireland, as the region approaches almost a year without a devolved government at Stormont.
Carrickfergus couple Laura McKee and Jayne Robinson, who have been together for six years, have launched an online petition urging the UK government to pass the legislation in order to enable them to marry in the region.
It amassed more than 5,000 signatures within 24 hours of going live.
Unlike the rest of the UK, same-sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland.
The issue is a devolved matter, meaning it is for Stormont to decide on whether to legalise it.
Legislation to change this has been proposed at Stormont on numerous occasions but the Democratic Unionists have used a special veto mechanism called the "petition of concern"' to block the reform.
However, the couple say that since the powersharing executive collapsed at Stormont, when Sinn Fein pulled out of governance with the DUP, the UK government should now intervene in the absence of a functioning devolved government.
Ms Robinson said: "I love Laura and I know she loves me.
"Just like most other couples in a long-term, committed relationship, we want to get married.
"At the moment our politicians are stopping us.
"With devolution suspended and Westminster increasingly taking the decisions, we want Theresa May to act now to bring Northern Ireland's marriage laws into line with those in the rest of the UK."
She added: "The Prime Minister has recently said that she supports equal marriage rights for couples in Northern Ireland.
"Now Laura and I are asking her to prove it.
"We want to get married and we are asking people to sign our petition to demonstrate the huge support we know exists for marriage equality in Northern Ireland."
The petition is available online at allout.org