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Thousands expected at Belfast equal marriage rally

Credit: PA

Thousands of people are expected to walk through Belfast today in a rally for marriage equality.

Following the Yes vote in last month's Irish referendum, Northern Ireland is now set to be the only part of the UK or Ireland where civil marriage is denied to gay couples, campaigners said. Actress Nuala McKeever is expected to address protesters.

Unionists earlier this year rejected a proposal from Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to hold a referendum on the issue similar to the Republic.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected a proposal calling for the introduction of gay marriage, after debating the issue for a fourth time.

Sinn Fein said equality rights for same-sex couples must be shared by citizens in the north and it will continue to campaign for the reform.

Organisers Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Rainbow Project are asking marchers to assemble outside the Belfast campus of Ulster University from 2:30pm on Saturday.

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Bono: Ireland now a country of peace and equality

Credit: PA

U2 frontman Bono has celebrated Ireland's vote for gay marriage.

On the second night of their latest tour in the US, the star dedicated Pride (In The Name Of Love), one of the band's top hits, to mark the historic day.

On stage, in front of thousands, he said: "It's a moment for us to thank the people who bring us peace to our country. We have peace in Ireland today ...and in fact on this very day we have true equality in Ireland,"

Australian PM rejects gay marriage referendum proposal

Australia's political leaders on Sunday rejected the idea of a referendum on gay marriage following Ireland's successful vote.

When questioned on Sunday about whether Australia should have a referendum on the issue, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it's a matter to be resolved in parliament.

Leader of the opposition Bill Shorten also supports a vote in parliament but is pushing for Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote within his own party.

In 2012 the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted against legislation that would allow same sex couples to marry.

Forty two MPs voted in support of the bill while 98 voted against.

Irish PM: Ireland's voice has been heard loudly

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny today said the country's voice had been heard "loudly across the world" after it voted in favour of gay marriage in a national referendum.

He said: "With today's vote we have disclosed who we are - a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people.

"Yes to inclusion, yes to generosity, yes to love, yes to equal marriage."

Almost two-thirds of voters backed a change in the constitution in the referendum.

ITV News Correspondent Duncan Golestani reports:

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Ireland makes history as country votes 'Yes' to gay marriage

Ireland has become the first country in the world to adopt gay marriage by popular vote as 62 percent of the electorate backed a referendum, official results showed.

Some 1.2 million people backed the campaign to enshrine rights for same-sex couples in the Constitution, almost two thirds of those who voted.

More than 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot, the highest turnout at a referendum in the country in over two decades.

New laws on gay marriage will be put to the Dail parliament before the summer potentially paving the way for the first ceremonies to take place before the end of the year.

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