A Jewish activist in Northern Ireland says the community has a “wee bit of a spring in our step” after same-sex marriage and abortion become legal for the first time.
The new legislation came into force as the clock ticked towards midnight on Monday, despite a last-ditch attempt to block the law change.
The House of Commons is expected to legislate by January, with Valentine’s Day touted as the first opportunity for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland to wed.
Paula Tabakin, 43, who identifies as queer and lives in Belfast, is a member of GEG – Gay Ethnic Group – which campaigns for representation for minority ethnic groups within Northern Ireland’s LBGTQ+ community.
“Being Jewish is a strong part of my identity,” she told Jewish News, “and since the change in law I am beginning to think more about marriage.”
Tabakin says she has already received her first wedding invitation.
“The right to be equal makes me emotional, knowing how hard people have worked on our behalf is humbling,” she added.
“Today we woke up with a wee bit of a spring in our step. I’ve already got my first wedding invitation
“It means a great deal that children of LGBTQ families will be able to hold their heads up high knowing that their family is equal in every way.”
Tabakin says she never thought the law change would be possible, citing political opposition from the likes of the Democratic Unionist Party.
“We know how the Democratic Unionist Party has worked in the past and because there have always been very determined in stopping it,” she said.
But despite the law change, she may still encounter difficulties in securing a Jewish wedding in Northern Ireland.
The country has a small community of Jews and no reform or liberal congregations.