Tory Vice Chair: It’s crazy that gay couples’ marriages will be downgraded on entering Northern Ireland

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The Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party has said he thinks it is “ludicrous” that gay married couples travelling to Northern Ireland will not be recognised as married.

Michael Fabricant raised the question with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers, on whether she has discussed the issue of the lack of equal marriage with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, First Minister of Northern Ireland or Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Andrew Robathan, Minister for Northern Ireland responded to say the issue had not been raised.

He said: “Marriage law is devolved in Northern Ireland, however neither the First Minister nor the Deputy First Minister have raised the matter of equal marriage with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet [Theresa Villiers].”

Mr Robathan went on to say that the Assembly in Nortnerhn Ireland passed a legislative consent motion on 24 June which allows “same-sex marriages conducted in England and Wales to be recognised as civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.”

Speaking to PinkNews, Mr Fabricant said: “Equality should be applied across the whole of the UK. It will be frankly quite ludicrous that gay couples will be recognised as married in England, Wales and hopefully Scotland but suddenly downgraded into a civil partnership as soon as they cross the Irish Channel”.

Mr Fabricant has also now tabled a new question of whether Ms Villiers will “now raise the matter of equal marriage with the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister and encourage and urge them to introduce same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland.”