Northern Ireland is set to finally begin ringing in same-sex marriages next year, and they picked the perfect day to kick things off: Valentine’s Day.
While the rest of the United Kingdom legalized the freedom to marry in 2014, Northern Ireland lagged behind. The U.K. province didn’t change its position on issue until earlier this year, when the House of Commons passed a new amendment bringing same-sex unions to its population off 1.8 million people. This comes two years after the Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed, giving the House of Commons more power over Northern Ireland’s affairs.
While the House of Commons voted 383-73 in favor of legalizing marriage equality in July, the amendment could be voided if the Northern Ireland Assembly resumes control over the country before October 21.
John Penrose, the former Minister of State to Northern Ireland, previously pledged the government would support same-sex unions, no matter the final outcome with its devolved legislature. “If this passes a vote, it will go into law and become part of primary legislation,” he said. “Ministers would be bound by it and Government would proceed.”
There has been a delay in the amendment taking effect because Northern Ireland has to update the legal code to include same-sex couples, to correct usages of “husband and wife” and “man and woman.”
Marriage equality technically starts on January 13 of next year, but couples must submit a notice of intention to get married 28 days before the wedding will take place. Because queer people already love making big deals into even bigger spectacles, celebrating your country finally legalizing the freedom to marry by getting having your wedding on Valentine’s Day is a logical next step.
LGBTQ+ people in Northern Ireland celebrated the fortuitous timing.
“We now look forward to the sound of Valentine’s Day wedding bells,” Northern Ireland Director of Amnesty International Patrick Corrigan told the House of Lords, as the U.K. LGBTQ+ outlet PinkNews previously reported. “If all goes according to plan, there should be plenty of bells to go around.”