Speaking Saturday at an LGBT Pride
event in Belfast, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar predicted it is
only a matter of time before gay and lesbian couples can legally wed
in Northern Ireland.
Varadkar, who has made history as the
Irish Republic's first openly gay taoiseach, made his comments
outside a Pride Breakfast event at the Northern Whig pub in central
Belfast, according to The
When asked when Northern Ireland would
legalize such unions, Varadkar answered: “I think it's only a
matter of time although it is, of course, a decision for the Northern
Ireland assembly to take, but I am confident that like other western
European countries they will make that decision in due course.”
Northern Ireland is the only part of
the United Kingdom where gay couples are not allowed to marry.
The Democratic Unionist Party has been
successful in blocking repeated attempts to legalize such unions.
The Democratic Unionists hold the largest share of seats in the
Northern Ireland assembly.
Varadkar said that he was attending
Belfast Pride to show his and his government's support for “equality
before the law and individual freedom for all citizens no matter
where they happen to reside.”
More than 10,000 people joined in
Saturday's parade, which included dozens of bands and hundreds of
floats making their way through downtown Belfast to Custom House
Square for an outdoor festival.