This poll could be a game changer on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

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A poll has been released showing nearly two-thirds of people now support equal marriage in Northern Ireland – the same week the DUP vetoed a proposal.

Same-sex marriage is law in England, Wales and Scotland and the Republic of Ireland – but in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party has blocked it repeatedly.

This week MLAs in the Northern Irish Assembly passed marriage proposals by a vote of 53-51 – only to be blocked by the DUP using a ‘petition of concern’ to veto the proposals.

They have been accused of abusing powers granted via the peace process to block equality – and a poll today shows they did so in the face of overwhelming support.

The poll, jointly commissioned by BBC Northern Ireland and Irish broadcaster RTÉ, shows that 64 percent of people support equal marriage in Northern Ireland while just 23 percent oppose it.

The numbers are a few points away from those in the Republic of Ireland – where same-sex marriage was passed earlier this year by a landslide referendum.

Over 2000 people were surveyed for the cross-borders research, carried out by the polling company B&A.

Activists have pledged to continue fighting for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, even though the DUP continue to veto any attempts to pass legislation or hold a public vote.

Director of The Rainbow Project, John O’Doherty said: “It is true that the DUP have abused the petition of concern to block this vote and are now ignoring the will of the Assembly and the people of Northern Ireland but we will not allow them to dampen our joy… our campaign continues and it will not end until marriage equality is a reality for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said: “The abuse of the Petition of Concern, to hold back rather than uphold the rights of a minority group, means that Stormont has once again failed to keep pace with equality legislation elsewhere in the UK and Ireland.

“The battle for equality in Northern Ireland will now move to the Courts, where same-sex couples have been forced to go to secure their rights as equal citizens in this country.”