Belfast Telegraph

Gay marriage now has overwhelming support in Northern Ireland - poll

...And you're more likely to back it if you're Catholic and living in Belfast

By Claire Cromie

An overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland now back same-sex marriage, according to a new Ipsos MORI poll.

Support appears to have increased since the Republic of Ireland's referendum - and the results show that even more people here would vote 'Yes' than in the south.

The latest survey found that 68% of adults in Northern Ireland believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry - compared to the 62.1% 'Yes' vote in the Republic.

The figure rises to 82% among 16 to 34-year-olds and 75% support among 35 to 54-year-olds, but falls to 47% among those aged 55 and over.

Last month thousands of people marched through Belfast in a rally for marriage equality. Northern Ireland will soon be the only part of the UK or Ireland where gay couples are denied civil marriage.

Amnesty International has said the figures show Northern Ireland's politicians are "badly out of step with ordinary people" on the issue.

“The people have spoken and it’s clear they don't want Northern Ireland to be left behind on marriage equality," said Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty's Northern Ireland programme director.

“Continuing resistance to bringing Northern Ireland in step with all our neighbours is unacceptable. It’s high time Northern Ireland said a big ‘we do too’ to equality.

"The Stormont Executive should bring forward marriage equality legislation without further delay.”

The poll found that people living in Greater Belfast are more likely to back gay marriage than those living in other areas of Northern Ireland - at 75% versus 63% respectively.

Meanwhile, those from a Catholic background are more inclined to voice support for gay marriage, with three quarters (75%) agreeing that homosexual couples should be able to get married, compared to 57% of those from a Protestant community background.

The data also highlighted differing views on this subject depending on the political party participants voted for in May’s Westminster Election.

Support is highest among those who voted for Sinn Fein (80%), Alliance (79%) and SDLP (61%), compared to 49% of UUP voters and 45% of DUP voters.

Attitudes appear to have changed significantly since a 2014 Belfast Telegraph/Lucid Talk poll. Then, 50.5% were found to be in support with 49.5% opposing gay marriage.

Ipsos MORI's 2015 poll interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 16+ across Northern Ireland. Interviews were conducted face-to-face between May 20 and June 8 2015. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

Read more:

The drive for same-sex equality puts Northern Ireland on road to normality

US Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage legal in every state

Gay couples clear first stage in legal challenge against Northern Ireland's same-sex marriage ban  

Poll: Thousands add their name to petition calling for Northern Ireland referendum on gay marriage 

Ian McKellen urges Northern Ireland to legalise same-sex marriage 

Irish gay marriage referendum: Pressure to build on Northern Ireland's politicians to allow vote on gay marriage

Slim majority in Northern Ireland supports same sex marriage law  

Politicians do not reflect public opinion on same sex marriage and abortion 

Vatican describes Republic of Ireland's gay marriage vote a 'defeat for humanity'

Stance on gay union not archaic 

Same sex marriage vote will not change our stance, say the Churches in Republic of Ireland

Church to blame for Northern Ireland's anti-gay attitudes, drag queen Panti Bliss tells Belfast Pride 

Stormont debate and vote on legalising gay marriage in Northern Ireland 

Stormont politicians don't speak for us all on same-sex marriage 

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