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"The Gayest Group In Westminster" Is Urging Ireland To Vote Yes To Same-Sex Marriage

The SNP's LGBT contingent are campaigning for a Yes vote one more time.

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A group of six LGBT MPs from the SNP gathered outside parliament on Tuesday afternoon to encourage Irish citizens to vote Yes in Friday's referendum on same-sex marriage.

Siraj Datoo / BuzzFeed News

Stewart McDonald, the newly elected SNP MP for Glasgow South, told BuzzFeed News that a Yes vote was crucial for building up the confidence of young gay people.

"We want to encourage folks to vote Yes to give that confidence to young people and in particular to be themselves, to live the life that they want to live," he said.

"What better way to demonstrate to people that it's OK to be who you are in modern-day Ireland in a modern world than endorsing equal marriage?"

McDonald was one of six SNP MPs who stood outside the gates of parliament holding signs from the Yes for Equality campaign. He said the SNP's MPs formed the "gayest group in Westminster, with over 12% of us being out and homosexual".

The MPs, from left to right in the above photo, are John Nicolson, Angela Crawley, Stewart McDonald, his near-namesake Stuart McDonald, Mhairi Black, and Martin Docherty.

The group discussed their experience of coming out, with John Nicolson saying he received death threats when he became the first openly gay BBC presenter.

Siraj Datoo / BuzzFeed News

They also agreed that it had now become much easier to be gay in the UK. Black, the youngest MP in parliament, simply said: "I've never been in." Although she had appeared on a list of LGBT MPs provided by the parties, this was apparently the first time she had discussed her sexuality in public.

McDonald joked before the gathering that a group of SNP MPs carrying "Yes" signs might look a bit familiar.

A handful of us SNP MPs getting our photos taken with some 'Yes' signs soon. All will become clear...

He told BuzzFeed News that the MPs had actually considered using the Yes signs from the independence referendum, but didn't want to distract from the message they wanted to send to Irish voters.

When asked if McDonald wanted another independence referendum in Scotland, he said: "That may well come at some point in the future, but for me for the next few days, I'm hoping for a Yes vote in Ireland on Friday."

Angela Crawley, the MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, said equality should be at the forefront of political discussion in the UK.

"We would hope that all young people and particularly those from LGBT backgrounds feel comfortable and confident to go forward in their careers and their chosen professions," she told BuzzFeed News. "[They should] realise that it is possible to be out and proud and to get married and to continue your life as you rightly should."

Crawley added that although there were groups arguing against equal marriage in Scotland before legislation was introduced in December last year, the campaign against it has swiftly died down.

"What it proves is that if Ireland votes Yes on Friday, that young people across the UK, Ireland, and elsewhere can feel comfortable to go on and have a happy marriage with whomever they love, and that's exactly what it should be like," she said.

There was also an awkward moment when the group bumped into Tom Harris, who was Labour MP for Glasgow South until Stewart McDonald overturned his 12,658 majority.

Siraj Datoo / BuzzFeed News

But Harris took it in good humour – and even took a selfie with McDonald.

Well, well, well! Looked who I bumped into outside the Commons... @StewartMcDonald

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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