Thousands call for end to Northern Irish gay marriage ban at Belfast Pride
Thousands who took to the streets of Belfast yesterday for the city’s annual Pride parade have called for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland.
Revellers at Belfast Pride chanted “what do we want? Equal marriage. When do we want it? Now!”
Referring to the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Arene Foster’s continued opposition to same-sex marriage they also sang: “Arlene, Arlene hear us clear – we want equal marriage here.”
The sun was out in Belfast for the festivities as thousands took to the city’s streets.
Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK where it is not legal for same-sex couples to marry.
The Northern Irish Assembly backed equal marriage by a vote of 53 to 51 last year – but the DUP used peace process powers to override the democratic process and block equality for a fifth time.
The party has been accused of “abusing” petitions of concern, which were introduced to encourage power-sharing and cross-community support, to ‘veto’ marriage legislation despite clear majority support.
In its new manifesto released earlier this year, the DUP pledged to continue blocking same-sex marriage.
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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.