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Big Fat Gay Wedding to be staged in Belfast: couple to say ‘I do’ in front of hundreds

A gay couple will get married in Belfast on Friday evening in front of hundreds of well-wishers, despite law-makers at Stormont blocking the right of same-sex couples to wed in Northern Ireland.

Malachai O’Hara and Michael McCartan, who have been in a committed relationship for five years, want to get married for real, but as a gay couple in Northern Ireland, find themselves in the only part of the UK which bans same-sex marriage.

Now the pair plan to get hitched in what organisers are calling a Big Fat Gay Wedding, being staged as part of the Belfast’s Culture Night as a light-hearted protest against the ongoing block on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

The wedding, with vows administered by Belfast author Glenn Patterson and love songs sung by a local choir, will take place on the steps of a top Belfast hotel before a crowd of hundreds of the couple’s family, friends and supporters.

Malachai O’Hara said:

“Michael and I would dearly love to get married for real, just as our siblings are able to do.

“We are ready and waiting to be a married couple. We shouldn’t really have to ask the permission of 108 politicians at Stormont to do so.

“We know that most people in Northern Ireland want the law changed. Now we just need our politicians to stop getting in the way of us living our lives.”

Glenn Patterson, who will officiate at the Culture Night event, said:

“This is a rehearsal against the day when Malachai and Michael can be married in what is, after all, their own city. I’m lucky enough to have been married for more than twenty years to the person I love most in the world. I want Malachai, Michael - everyone - to have that chance.”

A recent survey, carried out by Ipsos MORI, found that 68% of adults in Northern Ireland believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. An estimated 20,000 people marched through Belfast in June to demand a change in Northern Ireland law to allow same-sex civil marriage.

The Big Fat Gay Wedding is being arranged by campaigners Amnesty International, the Rainbow Project and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and will take place as part of Culture Night Belfast.

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