Republic of Ireland votes for equal marriage

By staff writers
May 23, 2015

The Republic of Ireland has voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum with 62 per cent voting in favour of amending the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Ireland has a written constitution which can only be changed by referendum. Now that the proposal has been passed, marriages between two people of the same sex will have the same status under the constitution as those between a man and a woman, being recognised as a family and therefore entitled to the constitutional protection for families.

The turnout was over 60 per cent, 1,201,607 people voting in favour of same-sex marriage, while 734,300 voted against. Of the 43 constituencies, only one, Roscommon-South Leitrim, had a majority of 'no' votes. Many voters living abroad returned to Ireland to cast their ballots.

Leo Varadkar the Republic of Ireland's first openly gay minister, said the vote showed that the "traditional cultural divide" between rural and urban areas had vanished.

"This is really Ireland speaking with one voice in favour of equality," he told the Irish broadcaster RTE.

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said if the referendum represented the views of young people, the church had a "huge task in front of it" and "needs to do a reality check".

He added, "I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day, that they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution."

Ireland is the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.

[Ekk/4]

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