Robyn and Sharni tied the knot in a beautiful wedding ceremony after same-sex marriage was legalized on January 13 in Northern Ireland.
In July of last year, Members of Northern Ireland's Parliament backed amendments that compelled the government to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. A few months later, on January 13 this year, same-sex marriage was finally legalized; couples were permitted to register to marry. Now, the first same-sex couple has tied the knot. Robyn Peoples from Belfast and Sharni Edwards from Brighton got married in a beautiful wedding ceremony earlier this week as their friends and family members watched on. They danced to Ariana Grande's 'Over And Over Again' and celebrated their love just like any couple would, Pink News reports.
The wedding ceremony took place at a hotel in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim. The couple has been together for six years now and were planning a civil partnership, but opted instead to get married to each other due to the legalization. Prior to the wedding, Robyn told the BBC, "We’re both nervous but very excited. We just can’t believe it’s happening next week. I just want to say thank you to everyone in Northern Ireland who has made this possible for us. Behind the scenes, everyone who’s marched, everyone who’s emailed, petitions, everything." On February 11, the big day finally arrived.
Robyn hopes their marriage will help people break down prejudices and see that same-sex couples are just like heterosexual couples. "It wasn’t intentional but we are so grateful for it. It helps other people to see we are just like any other normal couple, except we are both girls," she stated. "There is nothing different about us from the next couple you see in the street." While they don't have to prove their "normalcy" to anyone, the legalization of same-sex marriage is a step forward in recognizing the LGTBQ+ community and granting them their rights. The couple, like any other, met at a Belfast bar in 2014. "We haven’t been separated since," said Sharni. "We just clicked."
Though they tried a long-distance relationship for a while, they decided to move in together after about eight months. They have since settled down in the Woodvale area, which is a traditionally unionist area. In addition to being elated about their marriage, Robyn and Sharni are equal parts thankful that this was made possible. "We are so thankful for the Love Equality campaigners for fighting for us," Sharni explained. "If it wasn’t for their hard work and effort, we wouldn’t be in this position now. We would still be having a civil partnership next week." She was surprised equal marriage rights did not apply to Northern Ireland as it did in the United Kingdom. She said, "I thought it was insane, absolutely crazy to be so behind the times and the rest of the UK. I couldn’t comprehend why people in Northern Ireland were not equal." After a fierce fight for love, like what Robyn and Sharni share, the LGBTQ+ community is stronger than ever before.