A student from Northern Ireland whose university graduation clashed with a major local rally for marriage equality has unfurled a rainbow flag on stage to show her support.
The student, named Ciara Cinnamond, explained on Twitter: “Nothing was stopping me from making a statement on the same day thousands marched for equal marriage.”
Ciara told Belfast Live: “I knew that I would be graduating on the same day as the march for equality and despite not being physically present, I wanted to be there in spirit at least.
“I was at the march last year and to be surrounded by so much love, strength and happiness was incredible.
“I want the opportunity to marry the person that I love and in that moment, I marched too.”
— Brendan Hughes (@brendanhughes64) July 2, 2017
— Ciara L. Cinnamond (@ciara_cinnamond) July 2, 2017
— Areola Grande (@fiestamule) July 3, 2017
Marriage equality was legalised in the United Kingom in 2013 and Ireland in 2015, but it is still not permitted in Northern Ireland.
On Saturday, thousands took to the streets in Belfast to call for the reform, and Irish celebrities such as talk show host Graham Norton and actor Liam Neeson have also joined the campaign.
“Let’s show that to the world by treating gay, lesbian and transgender peoples as our brothers and sisters and allowing them to marry, if they so wish,” Neeson said.
Norton said Ireland’s successful referendum on same-sex marriage two years ago was a “proud gay day”.
“It moved me to tears because it was something I never dared hope would happen,” he said.
“I know it is hugely frustrating for gay people there that it is the last part of these islands still without marriage equality. Especially when there is such overwhelming support for it among the public.”