Advancing human rights and equality
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Proud to support our members' work on LGBTI equality

This week, the plan was for Belfast to be a rainbow hotspot of events culminating in the 30th Pride march on Saturday 1 August.

In 2020, the city is still celebrating Pride, albeit in a slightly different way. Like many equality events, Belfast Pride has made the move online and a virtual programme of ‘Rainbow Heroes’ discussions and workshops are running between 24 July and 2 August.

Many of the PILS Project’s NGO members are dedicated to improving legal equality and the lived experiences of LGBTI people across Northern Ireland. High-visibility campaigns, such as the Love Equality movement for equal marriage, have increased public awareness of the inequalities that persist.

Over the lifetime of our own project, PILS have lent support to public interest challenges involving LGBTI equality issues, including the Petitioner X case.   

This case involved a same-sex couple who were married in England in 2014 and applied to have their marriage recognised upon their return to NI. The PILS Project provided financial support to the case when it appeared before the High Court in 2017.

When the first instance judgment was delivered in August 2017, the Court dismissed the couple’s arguments. On 15 April 2020, a Court of Appeal decision from Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan acknowledged that the couple had been discriminated against. (This judgment came after legislative changes initiated at Westminster had introduced marriage equality in NI, and the Lord Chief Justice noted that this meant that granting an order in the case was unnecessary.)

The couple’s solicitor, Ciaran Moynagh of PILS solicitor member Phoenix Lawreacted to the decision at the time saying: “We are relieved the court has found there was unjustified discrimination. My client has always wanted respect and dignity in Northern Ireland for their marriage…”.

  • If your solicitor firm or NGO is a member of the PILS Project and would like to learn more about how PILS can support your legal work to protect human rights and equality, please get in touch!