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Amnesty welcomes Sir Elton John's support for marriage equality in Northern Ireland

Amnesty International has welcomed comments by Sir Elton John in support of the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Sir Elton John urged Northern Ireland politicians to “enter the 21st Century” over same‐sex marriage and that if there was a public vote it would “sail in”.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:

“Sir Elton John’s support for marriage equality in Northern Ireland is very welcome.

“Sir Elton has a proud track record of standing up for gay rights around the world. It’s great that he’s speaking out for the rights of LGBTI people in Northern Ireland, which is now the only part of the UK or Ireland that ban same-sex marriage.

“He’s 100% correct when he says that most people in Northern Ireland back same-sex marriage and that if there was a public vote it would ‘sail in’. Local politicians who continue to block equality must wake up and realise the damage they’re causing to gay people in Northern Ireland, as well as to our international reputation.”

Amnesty, in partnership with LGBTI groups and trade unions in Northern Ireland, is spearheading a campaign for marriage equality in the region, the only part of the UK or Ireland without provision for same-sex marriage. In June marriage equality demonstration organised by the groups attracted an estimated 20,000 onto the streets of Belfast. A recent Ipsos MORI opinion poll showed that 68% of people in Northern Ireland now support same-sex marriage, but politicians have failed to back a change in the law.

This week the Northern Ireland Assembly voted in favour of the introduction of same‐sex marriage for the first time, but the Democratic Unionist Party blocked the motion using a 'petition of concern', originally designed to protect minority rights. Thousands of constituents wrote to their Assembly members urging a Yes vote as part of the Amnesty campaign in the run-up to the debate.

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