Following a legal change last autumn, same-sex couples can now register to marry and the first ceremonies will take place next month.
In July a year ago, the British Parliament passed legislation to bring the province into line with the rest of the United Kingdom, dictating that regulations governing same-sex marriage and civil partnerships will be made no later than 13 January, unless the devolved government was restored before 21 October.
Valentine's Day week 2020 will be especially special for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland as the very first legal same-sex marriages will begin to take place.
This also means that gay people who are already married will have their marriages recognised in Northern Ireland.More news: Rishi Kapoor's sister Ritu Nanda passes away at 71
"There remain a number of issues to be addressed before couples in Northern Ireland have the same rights as those in other jurisdictions", he added.
The subject of same-sex marriage had been voted on at least five times by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Activists across the country are celebrating the landmark change in law.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in England, Scotland, and Wales since 2014. "So, today is an incredible moment for same-sex couples who can finally marry and have their relationships recognised as equal", he said.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Northern Ireland has called an extraordinary meeting of its board on Thursday and said they're waiting for formal communication from the minister as they decide whether to continue with industrial action.More news: Ariana Grande to Perform at 2020 Grammy Awards
The British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith, signed the regulations into law back in December.
The legislation was brought in by Westminster in the continued absence of a working devolved government at Stormont.
Stormont executive ministers are expecting billions of pounds from the treasury to finance the ambitious plans outlined in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, an accord tabled jointly by the British and Dublin governments.
"It's a good day for Northern Ireland, an important day for citizens' rights across these islands and an exciting day for same-sex couples who can now register to marry", he said.More news: Bruno Fernandes ‘really wants’ United move