General support on streets of Belfast for gay marriage ceremonies

Gay marriage.
Gay marriage.

Even some of those opposed to gay marriage would still attend a same-sex wedding.

That was the picture emerging on the streets of Belfast yesterday, as the hours ticked away before gay marriage became law in England at midnight last night.

Following a BBC-commissioned poll, which found roughly four out of five Brits would attend a service, the News Letter asked 21 members of the public for their thoughts.

Most were supportive of both gay marriage and the idea of attending (see below).

Only three of those who spoke opposed gay marriage outright. However even one of them, Mary Bradford, said they would go to a ceremony regardless.

A 70-year-old from Andersonstown, she said: “I don’t really believe in it (gay marriage) to be honest.

“I don’t really agree with it. But sure – live and let live.”

Eilish Sullivan, a 69-year-old retired cleaner from Poleglass, said she would go too.

“I can’t really understand two men going with each other,” she said. “But I’ve friends like that, and nicer people you couldn’t meet.

“I don’t really understand the lifestyle, but I don’t want to put them down for it.”

Andy Bennett, 28, east Belfast

The retail manager was on his way to a wedding engagement yesterday, and said he would have no objection to attending a gay one too if it were permitted in NI. “I understand why people wouldn’t go,” he said. “But each to their own.”

Kim Dodd, 31, Northampton

An English accountant, Miss Dodd said she would happily attend a ceremony if she were asked.

“I would go because if they were my true friends, I would support them and wouldn’t have an issue,” she said.

Mark Maguire, 26, north Belfast

A trainee solicitor, he said: “Definitely, yeah. It wouldn’t make a difference to me. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest people’s sexual orientation.”

When told most seemed to share this view, he said: “It’s good to hear I’m in the majority!”

Gerald Kendall, 49, south Belfast

Mr Kendall, a builder, used to go to gay clubs himself – not because he is gay, but simply because his girlfriend had enjoyed it.

He would attend a service if asked.

“Why not?” he said. “I’ve no issues with people being gay.”

Colin Flinn, 68, east Belfast

Co-incidentally, the first person spoken to by the News Letter turned out to be a gay campaigner. Mr Flinn, chairman of Cara-Friend, said he would not necessarily want such marriage for himself but added: “For other people, I’d want it for the simple reason that it’s about equality.”

Jimmy mullen, 62, Sion Mills

A retired civil servant, he was asked the same – would he go to a same-sex ceremony?

“I’d go – I’ve a couple of mates who are gay. I’m married with a family, but I’ve absolutely no problem,” adding however that objectors to gay marriage are not necessarily homophobic.