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Pictures: Thousands pack streets to call for gay marriage in 'last bastion of discrimination'

Northern Ireland is now the only jurisdiction in the UK and Ireland not to allow same-sex marriage.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE have turned out for a rally in support of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland this afternoon.

Amnesty International Northern Ireland estimates put the crowd number at 20,000. Police estimates of the turnout weren’t immediately available.

The march began at Writer’s Square – heading for City Hall.

The campaign group has branded the North the “last bastion of discrimination” following the passing of the marriage referendum in the Republic last month, and the legalisation of gay marriage in England, Wales and Scotland in recent years.

“People in Northern Ireland are sick of living in a discriminatory backwater for gay people,” Amnesty’s Patrick Corrigan said in advance of today’s event.

The Northern Ireland Executive should waste no more time in fulfilling its first duty to its people – to ensure that none are treated as second-class citizens.

Attempts to legislate to allow gay marriage in the jurisdiction have been vetoed by the DUP and a majority of Ulster Unionists at Stormont.

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The assembly has debated the issue four times.

Amnesty maintains the majority of people in Northern Ireland believe gay marriage should be made a reality. A 2013 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey of over 1,200 people showed 59% per cent were in favour of the move, and 29% against.

Read: Has the Catholic Church backtracked on its concerns over their role in weddings?

Read: “A thumping majority” – High Court rejects two legal challenges to the marriage referendum

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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