Gay actor Sir Ian McKellen has called for the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, in a statement which has been welcomed by Amnesty International.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, the Lord of the Rings star praised the result of last month’s Irish referendum on equal marriage.
He said: ‘I hope, as a result, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, will catch up with the rest of us now and bring in same-gender marriage because it’s rather unseemly that that little bit of, corner of our country, doesn’t have quite as liberal laws as the rest.’
Since the Republic of Ireland voted Yes in the referendum, Northern Ireland will now be the only part of the UK or Ireland to deny marriage to same-sex couples. On Saturday, around 20,000 people marched in Belfast to demand a change in the law.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director, said in a statement: ‘Sir Ian McKellen has been a champion of equal rights for the LGBTI community for many years.
‘His support for equal marriage in Northern Ireland is a reminder of how much we are now out of step with the rest of the UK and Ireland on civil marriage for same-sex couples.
‘We hope our legislators are listening, not just to Sir Ian McKellen, but to the 20,000 people who marched in Belfast in Saturday and the majority of people throughout Northern Ireland who want our law brought into line with the rest of the UK and Ireland.’