Support for Northern Ireland to legalize same-sex marriage has reached its highest point yet, according to a new poll.
The Ipsos MORI survey has found 68% of 1,000 adults want to join the rest of the UK in marriage equality.
It found 82% of the 16-34 age group support same-sex marriage, dropping slightly to 7%% among 35-54-year-olds, and then 47% support it among people 55 or older.
Perhaps surprisingly, Catholics were more likely to support the issue than Protestants, at 75% to 57%.
And while it’s not a shock that liberal parties had the most support, with 80% of Sinn Fein voters and 79% of Alliance voters, an impressive 45% of DUP voters backed same-sex marriage.
But while the public is ready to allow it, the politicians are not. The Northern Ireland Assembly, dominated by the anti-gay DUP, has rejected same-sex marriage four times.
And so, gay couples in Northern Ireland have no choice but to seek a judicial review of the ban in an attempt to equalize marriage laws across the UK.
Two couples, who entered into civil partnerships a decade ago, has lodged the complaint at Belfast City Hall in an attempt to make the courts agree that they are being discriminated against under the European Convention on Human rights.
Gavin Boyd, the policy manager of LGBTI rights group the Rainbow Project, said the LGBTI community in Northern Ireland has been left with no other route than pursuing equality by legal means.
The Rainbow Project is challenging the ban in their own way, helping a gay couple who legally married in England but their marriage is only recognized as a civil partnership in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Boyd said: ‘The Northern Ireland Assembly don’t seem to be capable of passing same-sex marriage by themselves, so we have to bring it to the courts. We know courts tend to be the most effective way of harmonizing laws across the UK.’
He added: ‘We currently have this crazy patchwork of marriage laws in the UK, it’s a mess. It’s something that Westminster could sort out tomorrow if they wanted. The UK is a single country, and it’s not feasible for a couple’s marriage to be viewed one way in one part and another way in a different part.’