7 in 10 people in Northern Ireland support the legalisation of gay marriage

Which is higher than Yes support in the recent Republic of Ireland vote

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Support for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland is now polling at 70 per cent, which is even higher than the result of the landslide referendum in the Irish Republic.

A new poll by Ipsos MORI has revealed that 68 per cent of people in Northern Ireland are in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. 62 per cent voted Yes in the referendum in the Republic on 22 May.

The Northern Irish poll is nearly level with the percentage of Yes voters in Dublin, which received the highest proportion of votes in favour across the referendum. The average vote of the 12 Dublin constituencies was 70.95 per cent in favour of same sex marriage.

The Irish referendum was the first ever national vote on marriage equality was seen as huge victory for LGBT rights worldwide. Support for gay marriage has risen from just 57 per cent since 2013, according to a survey by the Northern Ireland Life & Times.

Once the new law is brought into effect in the Republic, Northern Ireland will be the only remaining part of the UK or Ireland where the right to civil marriage is denied to gay couples.

However, support for change is higher than ever especially among young people. The poll showed that 82 per cent of 16 to 34-year-olds are in favour of gay marriage. The figure lowers in each age group with 75 per cent of 35 to 54-year-olds and just 47 per cent of over 54-year-olds saying "yes".

The poll, which interviewed 1,000 people over the age of 16 across Northern Ireland between 20 May and 8 June, found the highest level of support was in greater Belfast where 75 per cent said "yes". It also showed that there was much higher support among Catholics, at 75 per cent, than Protestants, at 57 per cent.

Eighty per cent of Sinn Fein voters, 79 per cent of Alliance voters, 61 per cent of SDLP voters, 49 per cent of Ulster Unionist voters, and 45 per cent of DUP voters said they were in favour of same-sex marriage.

Following the Yes vote in the Republic, Amnesty International described Northern Ireland as the "last bastion of discrimination". Amnesty held a mass demonstration in support of equal marriage along with The Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Rainbow Project in Belfast on 13 June.

In April the Northern Irish Assembly rejected a proposal for the legalisation of equal marriage. Unionist politicians are the greatest group opposing the change. However, Belfast City Council voted in favour of same-sex marriage last week when a motion was brought forward by Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown.

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