Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Saturday that it was “only a matter of time” before Northern Ireland legalizes same-sex marriage, as he attended a gay pride event in Belfast.

“It is of course a decision for the Northern Ireland Assembly, but I am confident that like other western European countries they will make that decision in due course,” said Varadkar, Ireland’s first openly gay leader who took office in June.

Northern Ireland is the only part of Britain where same-sex marriage remains illegal, and the largest political party in the province, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is deeply opposed.

The DUP, which has strong Protestant Christian fundamentalist roots, has consistently blocked the measure in the devolved assembly in Belfast.

However, the party has been relatively restrained about Varadkar’s participation in the Pride event, with DUP leader Arlene Foster saying it was “his own business”.

The Republic of Ireland, a traditionally Catholic country, voted to allow same-sex marriage in a historic referendum in 2015.

Varadkar attended a Pride breakfast in Belfast although other commitments prevented him from staying for the parade through the city center, which this year included uniformed police officers for the first time. (AFP)

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Drag queens wave to the crowd as Belfast Gay Pride takes place on August 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A gay couple embrace as they watch the Belfast Gay Pride march taking place on August 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Drag queen Lady Portia Di’Monte waves as she takes part in the Belfast Gay Pride march on August 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, smiles for a photo at the Belfast Pride march, Northern Ireland on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

PSNI and Garda officers representative of the gay community take part in the Belfast Gay Pride parade on August 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A drag queen stands against a mural as she waits for the start of the Belfast Gay Pride march on August 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A Met officer holds a police helmet sporting a rainbow ribbon as Belfast Gay Pride takes place on Aug. 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A drag queen and a participant dressed as Donald Trump wave to the crowd as Belfast Gay Pride takes place on Aug. 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A horse dressed as a unicorn with glitter hooves takes part in the Belfast Gay Pride parade on Aug. 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A reveler reacts as the Pride parade makes its way through the city center, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Peter Morrison/PA via AP)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Revelers take part in the Pride parade as it makes its way through the city center, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Peter Morrison/PA via AP)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A religious protester holds a placard as Belfast Gay Pride takes place on Aug. 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

PSNI and Garda officers representative of the gay community take a selfie before taking part in the Belfast Gay Pride parade on Aug. 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Participants wave to the large crowd of spectators as Belfast Gay Pride takes place on Aug. 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

A spectator poses for the camera as Belfast Gay Pride takes place on Aug. 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

Revelers take part in Belfast Gay Pride parade

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Pride event in Belfast city center celebrating Northern Ireland’s LGBT community on Aug. 5, 2017. (Photo: Press Eye Ltd/REX/Shutterstock)

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes