A new poll has shown that support for the legalisation of gay marriage in Northern Ireland currently sits at almost 70%, despite a recent Northern Ireland Assembly motion to recognise it being voted down.
Despite the introduction of same-sex marriage in England, Scotland and Wales, the DUP government in Northern Ireland continues to block all legislation on the issue.
However, a poll has this week found that same-sex marriage has overwhelming popular support.
The Ipsos MORI survey found 68% of people in the country now support same-sex marriage – even higher than the 62.1% who voted ‘Yes’ in the Republic of Ireland.
Support is much higher among young people, with 82% of 16 to 34-year-olds and 75% of 35 to 54-year-olds supporting same-sex marriage.
There was a large division in support for same-sex marriage along religious lines – Ipsos MORI found that 75 per cent of Catholics supported it, compared to 57 per cent of Protestants.
When broken down by party support, Sinn Fein voters were most likely to support same-sex marriage, with 80 per cent being in favour.
Even among DUP supporters, 45% of people disagree with their own party’s stance on the issue.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director, said:
The people have spoken and it’s clear they don’t want Northern Ireland to be left behind on marriage equality. This poll shows support in Northern Ireland for equal marriage is even higher than in Ireland’s landslide referendum.
Northern Ireland’s politicians are badly out of step with the people on marriage equality. Continuing resistance to bringing Northern Ireland in step with all our neighbours is unacceptable. It’s high time Northern Ireland said a big ‘we do too’ to equality.
The Stormont Executive should bring forward marriage equality legislation without further delay.”
However, even though support in Northern Ireland is currently much higher than both of these figures, it seems unlikely that a motion to recognise it would pass in the Assembly while the DUP continue to oppose it.
Northern Ireland is currently the only nation in the UK where same-sex marriage is not allowed.