BELFAST: 20,000 March For Marriage Rights [VIDEO]

Belfast Live reports:

Politicians have been urged “to do the right thing” by thousands of people who joined a rally in Belfast this afternoon calling for equal marriage. The march, which was organised by the Love Equality campaign, was led from Writer’s Square by Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister and Patrick Corrigan, from Amnesty International.

Supporters lined the streets as demonstrators, flying rainbow flags, chanted for equal rights as they made their way in the hot sunshine to a mass-rally in front of City Hall. Actress Bronagh Waugh, who compered the event, was first to address the crowds, warning Prime Minister Theresa May that people now “refused to be treated as second class citizens.”

The BBC reports:

Among those who attended the Belfast rally were Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister and Northern Ireland-born Labour MP Conor McGinn. Last month, a bill brought by Mr McGinn to bring same-sex marriage to NI was blocked from moving to the next stage at Westminster.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK and Ireland where same-sex marriage is still illegal. Deadlock over the issue has dogged Stormont for years. The last time MLAs debated it a majority voted in favour but the DUP blocked the move using a petition of concern.

Lord Mayor Ms McAllister said she was honoured that the march was her last event in the role. “Marriage equality is just one step towards total equality for the LGBT community here,” she said. “This will not harm anyone. This will not harm your marriage, nor anyone else’s. This is about celebrating love between two people. There is nothing to be afraid of.”

The Guardian reports:

Up to 20,000 people, including former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, joined the protest on Saturday, according to Amnesty International. They chanted, “Change is on the way” and “You can’t stop change” outside Belfast city hall.

A majority of MLAs backed the introduction of same-sex marriage the last time it was debated on the floor of the assembly before the institutions collapsed almost 18 months ago, but the use of the PoC by the Democratic Unionists rendered that irrelevant.

The petition is designed to protect minority views in a post-conflict society. It means a proposal can only be passed in the assembly if a majority of unionists and a majority of nationalist MLAs support it, rather than a straightforward majority head count.