The photos from Northern Ireland’s first legal same-sex wedding ceremony are in, and we dare you to flip through them without shedding a tear.
This Tuesday, Belfast-based couple Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards made history after tying the knot in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, The Guardian U.K. reports. Peoples and Edwards also celebrated six years together this week—but when the pair got word that the country they called home was finally legalizing marriage equality, the civil partnership ceremony they’d planned morphed into a full-on wedding.
It’s official. Northern Ireland’s first same-sex wedding has taken place in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim! Presenting Mrs and Mrs Robyn and Sharni Edwards-Peoples #LGBT @Love_EqualityNI @TRPNI pic.twitter.com/hgoIZvjxwX
— Amanda Ferguson (@AmandaFBelfast) February 11, 2020
In a statement provided to The Guardian, the newlyweds thanked the LGBTQ activists who fought to make equal marriage a reality in Northern Ireland. Edwards, a waitress from England, said she hadn’t even realized that the laws regarding marriage equality were different in nearby Northern Ireland prior to moving to Belfast:
If it wasn’t for [these activists], we wouldn’t be sat here right now. We just want to say thank you to everyone… everyone who has marched and signed petitions, everyone who has helped us get to this stage—we just want to say thank you.
“We feel humbled that our wedding is a landmark moment for equal rights in Northern Ireland,” the 26-year-old bride added. “We didn’t set out to make history; we just fell in love.”
As NewNowNext previously reported, the fight to legalize marriage equality in the historically Catholic country was an uphill battle, with Parliament finally buckling under pressure from queer activists last October.
Progressive lawmakers had tried in previous years to pass bills approving marriage equality, including a 2015 proposal, but the country’s ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) introduced a “petition of concern” that effectively killed the measure.
The country also scrapped its incredibly restrictive, 158-year-old abortion ban during in October 2019, giving civil rights advocates across the pond another huge reason to celebrate.’
Until last fall, Northern Ireland was the only region of the U.K. where same-sex couples were barred from marrying. Queer couples in England and Wales have been able to tie the knot since 2013, and Scotland’s LGBTQ community gained the same legal right one year later.
Congrats to Mrs. and Mrs. Edwards-Peoples!