Gay Pride revellers call for ‘equal marriage’ legislation

People take part in Belfast's annual Pride parade. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2016. Calls for an end to Northern Ireland's ban on same sex marriage found colourful voice on the streets of Belfast as thousands packed the city centre for the annual Pride parade. Many of those taking part in the noisy carnival used the opportunity to demand a change to legislation. See PA story ULSTER Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in Belfast's annual Pride parade. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2016. Calls for an end to Northern Ireland's ban on same sex marriage found colourful voice on the streets of Belfast as thousands packed the city centre for the annual Pride parade. Many of those taking part in the noisy carnival used the opportunity to demand a change to legislation. See PA story ULSTER Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Calls for an end to Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage found colourful voice on the streets of Belfast on Saturday as thousands packed the city centre for the annual Pride parade.

Many of those taking part in the noisy carnival used the opportunity to demand a change to legislation.

Among the chants resonating along the snake of floats were: “What do we want? Equal Marriage. When do we want it? Now.”

In a clear reference to DUP leader Arlene Foster’s opposition to lifting the prohibition, others sang: “Arlene, Arlene hear us clear – we want equal marriage here.”

Spirits were high across the city centre as the sun bathed supporters and participants alike.

However, not everyone enjoyed the day. Writing to the News Letter, the Rev E Trevor Kirkland, from the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Doagh, claimed that “verbal abuse, bottles and coins” were thrown at Christians holding an open-air witness at the front of the City Hall (see Letters, page 38).

Northern Ireland is the only part of the British Isles that does not allow same-sex couples to wed.

Political attempts to change marriage laws in the region have been defeated five times in the Stormont Assembly.