Ireland's gay marriage vote spurs surge in openness, survey finds

Ireland's approval of same-sex marriage has spurred hundreds of young people to come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) over the last year, according to survey results released on Sunday, one year after the referendum took place.

Of 1,300 people aged 14 to 23, 53 per cent said they knew someone who had come out since the country's referendum on same-sex marriage last May, according to a survey by LGBT support group BeLonG To. 

About 40 per cent of respondents who identified as LGBT said that, since the referendum, they had talked to others about their sexuality for the first time, broadcaster RTE and other Irish media quoted the survey as saying.

But more than half of the respondents agreed that discrimination against LGBT people remained common, while around 60 per cent said people who came out did not know where to find support.

The legal change was backed by 62 per cent of voters, making Ireland the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.

"I remember the joy in Dublin Castle one year ago today when Ireland made history and changed lives," Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Twitter on Sunday.

Amnesty International joined campaigners on Sunday in calling for marriage equality in Northern Ireland, where, unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, same-sex marriage remains illegal.

Voters in Ireland had "declared they wanted to live in an inclusive, equal society," activist Patrick Corrigan said in an Amnesty statement.

"That same desire for change exists in Northern Ireland," Corrigan said, citing opinion polls that found 68 per cent of people in the territory back marriage equality.

"People are impatient for change," he said. "They have just returned a majority of pro-equal marriage politicians to the [Northern Ireland] Assembly and now expect them to deliver without further delay or the misuse of petitions of concern to veto the will of the people."

The Irish government said it had recorded more than 400 same-sex marriages in the six months since civil marriage rights were extended to gay couples.

Last update: Sun, 22/05/2016 - 19:14
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