Belfast Telegraph

Comedian John Bishop calls for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland

Comedian John Bishop has called for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland after accepting an award at this year's NatWest British LGBT awards.

The funnyman took to the stage after he was named Ally of the Year during the awards at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square last night.

He attended the event with his wife Melanie and sons Joe, Luke and Daniel.

Bishop has supported the Come Out 2 Play initiative, a project designed to help gay people in the sporting world. He has also thrown his support behind a social media drive to end homophobic abuse on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But during his speech, in which he paid tribute to his son, who is gay, he called for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland.

"I was in Northern Ireland recently," he said.

"In Northern Ireland it is still illegal to have a same-sex marriage. I went to have a chat with some people from who put together the biggest gay pride in the whole of Ireland and it was a real lesson to me.

"I spoke to them about when the first pride march happened.

"It is people like this who really paved the way.

"Now the gay pride in Belfast has 50,000 people turn up. The first time they did it just fifty brave souls got together and when they walked down the road they were faced with people stood there with placards.

"They had placards shouting at these people 'You're going to hell', 'Being gay is a sin', 'You're an abomination'. Back then there was more protesters than marchers. Now they dwarf the protesters."

The first Belfast Pride Parade in 1991 in fact had 100 pioneers.

Belfast Gay Pride parade. Credit: Belfast Pride Festival

A bid to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was blocked in the House of Commons on Friday.

MP Conor McGinn, originally from south Armagh, had brought a private member's bill forward seeking to extend same-sex marriage into Northern Ireland following the collapse of the devolved government.

However, the bill did not progress past Second Reading in the Commons following an objection by a backbench Conservative MP.

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