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Poll: Support for same-sex marriage across Northern Ireland increases

Latest report finds there is still confusion about distinction between civil and religious marriage.

A new report shows there is an increased support for marriage equality across most sections of Northern Ireland.

The report, published today, also reveals the public's confusion about the distinction between civil and religious marriage among some faith groups.

Entitled the Civil Conversations on Marriage Equality, it was commissioned by the then Minister of Finance Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

The former Minister, along with Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie, are hosting a launch of the report today (Thursday) in Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

The report authors, Marie Quiery and Paula Keenan, facilitated discussions among over 500 people across Northern Ireland from a wide range of backgrounds.

Marie Quiery said: “This initiative shows that it really is good to talk. People from all walks of life were eager to have space and time to discuss this issue – part of the change we are undergoing as a society.

"We were keen to facilitate conversations with people holding a range of views in a safe, non-judgemental way.

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“It was a fascinating experience to listen in on those conversations. There was an inspiring generosity of spirit and openness to honest conversation."

Clare Moore of the Love Equality campaign for equal civil marriage, said: "The conversations recorded in this report mirror the opinion polls in showing strong and growing support for marriage equality among people across Northern Ireland.

“We have always said that it is good to talk about marriage equality - what it means to LGBT couples, and what it means to the rest of the community.

"We don’t just want to change the law, we want to change our society for the better and make it a more welcoming place for everyone."

The Love Equality campaign for equal civil marriage in Northern Ireland is led by the Rainbow Project, Amnesty International, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, NUS-USI and HereNI.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland which still bans marriage for same-sex couples, despite majority support among the public and in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

In November 2015, a majority of MLAs in the Assembly voted to support equal marriage, but the measure was blocked by the DUP using a Petition of Concern, a voting mechanism designed to protect the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland.

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