The U2 star said he supports the Republic of Ireland opening up marriage to same-sex couples.

Ireland is due to vote on introducing same-sex marriage next week.

Irish singer Bono, speaking ahead of the band’s latest world tour, said “Marriage is an idea that transcends religion.”

Bono, who is from a mixed Anglican and Catholic family, told the Irish Times: “[Marriage] is owned by the people. They can decide. It is not a religious institution.

“As far as I know, Jesus wasn’t a married man and neither are most priests talking about it. It is not a religious idea.

“In my mind, commitment is one of the most impossibly great human traits. It is a hard thing to hold on to, and anything that brings that together is a totally wonderful thing.”

Bono has been married to his wife Alison, who he met in school, since 1982.

He went on to say: “It is a wonderful thing. If you believe, it is just a man and a woman – great, live it!

“But you have to know that more than 50 percent of the population can’t. So anyone who can is defying the odds already.

“So here is what I have to say about it: wherever marriage occurs, it should be encouraged.”

A Russian politician recently declared that the U2 album which was distributed free by iTunes was “gay propaganda”.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny spoke about being encouraged to support same-sex marriage by a gay relative.