Marriage equality became law in Northern Ireland as of January 13, and Sharni Edwards and Robyn Peoples, who’ve been engaged for five years, became the first same-sex couple slated to legally marry there next week, according to the BBC.
While marriage equality has been the law of the land in England, Wales, and Scotland since 2014, but in July 2019, but the United Kingdom’s Parliament stepped in following a collapse of Northern Ireland’s government and OK’d an amendment to legalize marriage equality and abortion there. The law went into effect in January, which allowed same-sex couples to start registering to marry in time to begin marriages in February.
Peoples, 26, and Edwards, 27, intended to celebrate their love with a civil union ceremony if equal marriage had not passed. Now they are part of LGBTQ history there.
The women will legally wed Tuesday in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.
"We're both nervous but very excited," Peoples told the BBC. "We just can't believe it's happening next week."
The women met in 2014 when Edwards, who is from Brighton, England, was visiting a cousin in Belfast, where she met Peoples at Kremlin nightclub.
Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards
“We haven’t been separated since. We just clicked,” Edwards told Pink News. “You know when you know.”
The women became engaged a year later on a trip to Paris to see Ariana Grande. Brandishing a lock with their names engraved on it, Peoples proposed on the “Love Lock” bridge in Paris.
The next year, Edwards created a proposal of her own, spelling out “Will you marry me?” in rose petals.
The women credit the Love Equality campaign with really pushing marriage forward. They were also active in the movement, marching at Belfast Pride and various marriage equality events.
“It is so surreal for me. I still have to pinch myself. I just feel humbled and grateful," Edwards said. "The younger generation need people to look up to, to see it’s OK for a woman to love a woman.”