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Brian Kennedy adds voice to equality campaign

By Joanne Sweeney

Brian Kennedy has called for a change in the Northern Ireland law to allow civil marriage for same-sex couples.

The Belfast singer joins with Gary Lightbody and his band Snow Patrol to lend their voices to the growing campaign for marriage equality.

The gay recording artist, who came out in 2009, made the call to encourage a large turnout at a march and rally for marriage equality planned for Belfast city centre on Saturday.

Pressure from campaigners such as Amnesty International, Rainbow and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has intensified following the pro-Yes vote in the Republic on May 23.

Gary Lightbody allowed the Snow Patrol hit Just Say Yes to be used as the official song of the Yes Equality campaign.

He further tweeted his delight at the outcome of the referendum.

Kennedy also recorded a song to back the marriage equality campaign in the Republic, Please Vote Yes. The 48-year-old west Belfast man issued his statement while on tour in Australia.

He said: "Hello everyone from my tour in Australia.

"I can't tell you how proud I feel when complete strangers at these gigs on the other side of the world say how proud they are that the Republic of Ireland voted a resounding Yes for Marriage Equality. Now it's the turn of the good people of Northern Ireland.

"Every gay person deserves to feel equal. I don't want to be 'tolerated' by anybody and the only place I should seek permission to be married is from the heart of my beloved. Please come to the rally and show your support for what is a basic human right."

The parade organisers are predicting that thousands will join the march through Belfast on Saturday afternoon before a rally in front of Belfast City Hall. Derry-born singer Bronagh Gallagher will be performing on stage at the rally, supported by Quire, Belfast's LGBT choir.

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