Abortion has been decriminalised and same-sex marriage is to be legalised
Radical reform of local restrictions on abortion and same-sex marriage took affect at midnight on Monday, prompting celebrations across the LGBT community.
The changes were brought in through amendments tabled by two Labour MPs to a bill passed in the House of Commons in July.
The legislation placed a deadline of 21 October for power-sharing to be restored or the UK Government would be bound to act.
READ ALSO: THE SCHEMER
While an attempt was made during a recalled sitting of the Assembly on Monday, efforts to block the reforms failed due to a lack of cross-community support and breakdown in discussions.
The first Stormont sitting in almost three years was carried out to the backdrop of abortion campaigners on both sides of the debate.
As a result, same sex marriage will become legal in January 2020, with the first weddings expected to take place on Valentine’s Day.
The Government has also assumed responsibility to widen the access Northern Irish women have to abortion by next April, with terminations now decriminalised.
Before now, abortion was only allowed in Northern Ireland if a woman’s life was at risk or there was a danger of permanent and serious damage to her physical or mental health.
Women can avail of free transport to access English abortion services in the interim period.