Religious lobbying groups in Ireland have formed a coalition in support of same-sex marriage.

The Republic of Ireland is set to vote in May on a proposal that would legalise same-sex marriage.

The referendum has overwhelming public support – but the country’s polls have a history of unpredictable outcomes, due to a combination of low turnout and powerful anti-gay Catholic lobbying groups.

Ahead of the poll, a group of religious organisations have formed an interfaith coalition to lobby in support of equality – including both Catholics and Protestants.

Faith in Marriage Equality includes representatives from We are Church Ireland, Gay Catholic Voice Ireland and Changing Attitude Ireland.

Dr Richard O’Leary told The Journal: “We want to highlight that people in faith can vote yes in the referendum.

“We think that because most media attention has been given to the conservative Christian groups, or Catholic bishops, the yes voice from people of faith, heterosexual and gay, has not been heard.

“Jesus was a champion of the oppressed and the minorities, and there are positive messages in our religious teachings which would argue for the full inclusion and social justice for gay persons and same-sex [relationships] in our society.”

Dr Ciarán O’Mathúna of Gay Catholic Voice Ireland called for Catholics to “be brave” and vote in favour of same-sex marriage.