Belfast Telegraph

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Survey reveals two thirds 'comfortable' with gay marriage

By Claire McNeilly and Cate McCurry

Published 04/11/2015

Stephen with RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan
Stephen with RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan

Almost two-thirds of people in Northern Ireland say they would be comfortable if a close member of their family married someone of the same sex, a survey has revealed.

The cross-border poll suggested that 64% of respondents in Northern Ireland would be "very or fairly comfortable" with a gay marriage in the family, compared to 67% in the Republic.

The result comes just days before a case is brought by two residents of Northern Ireland who have been lawfully wed in England but whose marriage is only recognised as a civil partnership here.

The couple, who have been granted anonymity, will ask the court to make a declaration that their marriage remains lawfully constituted in Northern Ireland and should be recognised as such.

Further details of the major survey will be revealed this evening as BBC Northern Ireland and RTÉ join forces. Stephen Nolan and Miriam O'Callaghan will link up during Nolan Live and Ireland's Call - A Prime Time Special to discuss a range of economic, constitutional and social issues.

The survey, carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes, also reveals that 23% of respondents here were either very or fairly uncomfortable with the idea of a close family member marrying someone of the same sex compared to 21% in the Republic.

Tonight's Nolan Live - Prime Time Special will debate economic, constitutional and social issues and consider the findings of the survey with analysis and discussion from panellists and contributions from studio audiences.

When people here were asked if they felt comfortable about a close family member marrying someone of a different religion or different religious background, 84% of people here said they were very or fairly comfortable. That compared with 79% in the Republic.

Addressing the Northern Irish couple's landmark challenge, John O'Doherty from the Rainbow project, said the LGBT support organisation is backing them.

"If the court case is successful and they are recognised as being married here, it will create a precedent for other gay couples who married outside Northern Ireland to have their marriages recognised here too," he said.

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