Media sources have reported that thousands of people took part in a march in Belfast on Saturday, July 1, in support of ending the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The march began in Writers' Square and ended with a rally at Belfast City Hall. As of about 16:40 (local time) the rally was concluded but residual transportation disruptions and subsequent delays are likely in the area.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom or Ireland where same-sex marriage has not been legalized. Under current law, same-sex couples who are legally married elsewhere in the UK or Ireland are recognized as being in a civil partnership - not a marriage - in Northern Ireland. There have been five votes in the Northern Irish Assembly on ending the ban on same-sex marriage, with supporters of same-sex marriage gaining a majority for the first time in the most recent vote that occurred in November 2015. That vote was blocked by a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) petition of concern, as could a similar vote in the future. Polls indicate the Northern Irish public supports ending the ban on same-sex marriage by a wide margin.
Individuals in Belfast are advised to anticipate transportation delays and allow additional time for travel.
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