Protesters march in Belfast for marriage equality in Northern Ireland
Dozens of people have marched in Belfast for May Day to push for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK where same-sex couples cannot marry.
The Love Equality campaign was launched last month, and posted photos of the demonstration on Facebook today.
Organisers aim to ensure the law is change to allow equal marriage within the Northern Irish Assembly’s five year term.
The campaign was created by a number of LGBT organisations, as well as trade unions and student unions, and Amnesty International.
John O’Doherty of the Rainbow Project said: “Ever since the Yes vote in the Republic of Ireland, marriage equality has become a big political issue for many voters – straight and gay – in Northern Ireland,” John O’Doherty, one of the leaders of Love Equality said.
“Last summer 20,000 people marched through Belfast demanding marriage equality, one of the biggest political demonstrations Northern Ireland has seen in years. Those people haven’t gone away.
“On 5 May they will be looking for candidates who promise to deliver equality for everyone.”
Couples who wish to be able to marry in Northern Ireland spoke at the launch, reports UTV.
Sally Bridge, 48, and Catherine Couvert, 53, who live in Belfast, were among the couples there.
Bridge said: “We’ve been together for 15 years and raised two sons, two cats and a dog together! We’re very proud of our family. We want young LGBT people to grow up in a world where they don’t feel like second class citizens and we want families like ours to have equal rights.”
Another couple, Shane Sweeney 30 and Eoin Griffin, 24, said they had been planning an engagement party.
Sweeney said: “I can’t refer to Eoin as my husband, I can’t refer to it as matrimony in any way and that to me feels like, you’re okay but not the same as others, there’s no parity of esteem, we’re not asking for special status we just want to be the same and treated the same as everyone else and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing to ask for.”
The campaign’s organisers have said they will keep on going until same-sex marriage is legalised in Northern Ireland.
The Isle of Man has finally approved same-sex marriage this week – meaning Northern Ireland is set to be the last place in the Isles without marriage equality.
As a crown dependency, the Isle of Man maintains autonomy from the UK on issues including marriage.
It was the last part of these islands to legalise homosexuality in 1992 – but a vote this week confirmed it won’t be the last to introduce same-sex marriage.