The first ever same sex marriage has taken place in Northern Ireland and Twitter users have been shouting their joy from the (metaphorical) rooftops.
This week has been cause for celebration. On Monday (10 February) Northern Ireland finally made same-sex marriage legal and the following day the first couple to take advantage of this tied the knot. Hurrah!
Robyn Peoples, 26, and Sharni Edwards, 27, live in Belfast and met five years ago at a bar. This week on Tuesday, 11 February, they celebrated their sixth anniversary together with a wedding ceremony at a hotel in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.
The Guardian reports that the couple say they have a lot of gratitude to campaigners who have been fighting for same-sex marriage for years. Edwards says: “If it wasn’t for them guys 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 didn’t expect to be the first couple, it’s coincidental. 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 and it was a complete coincidence, a happy coincidence. We couldn’t be more grateful.”
Sara Canning, the partner of author Lyra McKee, who was shot by dissident republicans in Londonderry last year, comments on the marriage at an event organised by Amnesty International and the Love Equality campaign.
“What a wonderful moment in our history,” she said. “This really means so much and has brought me some much-needed light in what has been a dark year.
“I know Lyra would have been so overjoyed to see this day … Of course, this historic moment is a little bittersweet. It had been our dream too. Lyra and I should have been an engaged couple now, planning our own wedding day.
“But I am so happy for Robyn and Sharni… and for all the other couples who will follow.”
The pair have quickly become beacons of equality, being held up on social media as symbols of a more equal and inclusive Northern Ireland.
Their wedding has not only been something to celebrate but a ray of hope for a change in society for the better, something which has understandably touched a lot of people online.
Blu Hydrangea of RuPaul’s Drag Race had previously spoken about the need for the same-sex marriage law to change on the show and was obviously overjoyed with the result on Monday, tweeting: “Congratulations to the first same-sex married couple in Northern Ireland! LOVE WON!”
Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill also had a sweet message to share with the couple.
She tweeted: “Delighted that the first same sex marriage has took place in the North today. Comhghairdeas Robyn and Sharni. All love is equal. My best wishes to you both in marriage – I hope that you have a wonderful wedding day!”
Congratulations Robyn and Sharni!