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Change is coming to Northern Ireland

Change is coming to Northern Ireland

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On 22 October it was announced that under the deadline set by the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, same sex marriage will become legally recognised in Northern Ireland by 13 January 2020.

The introduction of same sex marriage may affect more than 22,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people - according to recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, 1.2% of the Northern Irish population identify as LGB.

With a Northern Irish employee population of approximately 2,000 people, Sodexo is proud to fully embrace this change in support of its LGBT+ colleagues. The UK & Ireland Pride employee network committee is overjoyed that this same sex marriage will finally be legalised in Northern Ireland after so many years of deliberation.

As someone directly affected by the announcement, Sodexo Senior Accounts clerk and Pride member, Julie-Ann Agnew, told us how the legalisation of same sex marriage will change her future.

“I grew up in Scotland and lived in England until 2008 when I moved to Northern Ireland. Four years ago, I met my partner Mo. When I met her, I knew that I had found the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. In four years we have bought a house together and got engaged in December 2018.”

Julie-Ann Agnew

Pictured: Julie-Ann (left) with partner Mo (right)

Before she met Mo, marriage hadn’t even crossed Julie-Ann’s mind, but over time she realised how important this decision meant to her and her future wife to be: “I want to have the same choice as other couples across UK - the choice to get married and have it recognised in the country where we own our home and where we live our lives.”

Now things are changing in Northern Ireland, Julie-Ann is excited for the future and for the day when she can enjoy her own wedding with the person she loves.

“The mandated deadline is not the ideal way to get the law changed, but to be honest, right now, I will take it!”, Julie-Ann added.

The first same sex weddings in Northern Ireland will take place in February 2020.

Join Sodexo in solidarity with your LGBT+ colleagues across the UK and Ireland by becoming a member of the Pride employee network. The network hosts a range of activities to raise awareness and help us all understand our role in ensuring Sodexo’s working environments are welcoming for all.

You can join the Pride network here.


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