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First same-sex couple marry in post-ban Northern Ireland

First same-sex couple marry in post-ban Northern Ireland
Robyn Peoples (L) and Sharni Edwards kiss during their wedding in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday. They were the first same-sex couple to marry after a ban was lifted last fall. Photo by Mark Marlow/EPA-EFE

Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The government of Northern Ireland allowed its first same-sex marriage on Tuesday, more than three months after a ban outlawing gay unions was lifted.

The couple -- Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards -- married in a ceremony at the Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus, just outside Belfast.

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The government lifted the ban last October and the move took effect Monday.

"We didn't expect to be the first couple, it's coincidental," Edwards said. "Today is our six-year anniversary so we wanted to go ahead with a civil partnership but when the bill was passed, it was perfect timing.

"We feel humbled that our wedding is a landmark moment for equal rights in Northern Ireland."

Amnesty International championed the change.

"Sharni and Robyn's wedding is a landmark moment for equality in Northern Ireland," said Amnesty International Northern Ireland Director Patrick Corrigan.

Activist Sara Canning, the partner of a journalist killed last year, will join lawmakers and other proponents at a parliamentary event Tuesday night to celebrate the law change.

"This really means so much and has brought me some much-needed light in what has been a dark year," Canning said.

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