Activists staged a 'big gay wedding' outside parliament to protest same-sex marriage ban
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Activists staged a ‘big gay wedding’ outside parliament to protest same-sex marriage ban


A couple staged a #BigGayWedding on the steps of Stormont, Northern Ireland’s centre of government, to protest the country’s ban on same-sex marriage on Monday. 

22-year-old LGBTQ activists Mark McLoughlin and Neal Rush, who’ve been together for two years, held a mock ceremony outside the parliament building on the two year anniversary of the Republic of Ireland’s referendum which resulted in the legalisation of same-sex marriage. 

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage isn’t legal, and political pressure for marriage equality is mounting.

Rush says the couple were asked by the president of the National Union of Students Northern Ireland, Fergal McFerran, to take part in the mock wedding at Stormont. 

“We decided to agree to it as we believe that it is important to get the message out there that we, in the LGBT community in the North of Ireland, still don’t have equal rights,” says Rush. He says they want to highlight the “hypocrisy of the situation.”  

“You can get married in Britain, in the South of Ireland, but not here in the North,” he continued.

He says they’re delighted to be able to help out and to do their bit to give the LGBTQ community some visibility.  “We’ve seen on social media that some people still think we’re disgusting, but if likes and ‘love’ reactions are anything to go by, the vast majority of people support us and we’ve received tremendous support from people from all backgrounds which is amazing to see,” says Rush.

McLoughlin delivered a powerful speech during the ceremony, stating he wants same-sex couples to be able to express their love for one another through marriage.

“We’re in no rush down the aisle just yet, but one day I would like to be afforded the opportunity to marry you,” McLoughlin said. 

“Our love, and the love of our LGBT brothers and sisters, is still sadly not recognised as equal here in the North. It’s saddening and angering in 2017 that me and you still cannot express our love in the same way as everyone else,” he continued. 

#LoveIsLove

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May 23, 2017
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