It was the largest voter turn out in Irish history that allowed same-sex marriage to be legal in the Republic of Ireland. Final tallies show that 62% of voters voted “Yes” in the referendum, a result that’s being described as a social revolution, and a dramatic breaking away from the social influence of the Catholic Church
New York Times Responds
The New York Times editorial was jubilant when it stated:
“Months ago, it seemed to some like a long shot that love, common sense and justice would prevail as voters in Ireland began contemplating whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry under their Constitution. On Friday, love didn’t just prevail across Irish cities and villages. It triumphed....The tide is shifting quickly. Even in unlikely places, love and justice will continue to prevail.”
(Northern Ireland is now the only country in the British Isles to discriminate against gay marriage.) The Australian Parliament is only short of two votes to carry marriage equality).
Ex Pats Go Home to Vote
Irish men and women living overseas came by plane and boat to vote in a referendum that will ensure marriage equality for the LGBT community for future generations. Politicians, Business organizations, the Media and the YES vote all united against the NO voters, mostly religious conservatives. The NO vote campaign was embarrassed by its sign of a man and wife hugging a baby. As it turns out – the couple are English and they are in favour of same-sex marriage. Their photo was lifted off an internet site.
What grabbed most people’s emotions was the YES campaign video: A teenager pops his head into a hairdressing salon, “Mammy, it’s time to vote,” and grandparents walk to the polling station with YES badges on.
I personally applaud the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny. His support was enormous. He said after the win, “Ireland is a small country with a big message. Today Ireland made history, I welcome that,” he added. Everywhere, people turned in to a popular broadcaster, Vincent Browne, who voiced the vote results from The George, the cities oldest and best known gay establishment.
Behind him some high kicking drag queens sang Patti Labelle’s disco hit Lady Marmalade. Then Bosco, the iconic children’s TV puppet from the 1980’s – and a noted Yes supporter – showed up to cheer on the delighted crowd.
Another politician, Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, posed for a selfie with Miss Panti Bliss, the iconic Irish drag star.
On the national evening news the weather forecast showed a giant rainbow covering the country.
The Church Meets its Waterloo
The expression to “meet its Waterloo” refers to a defeat as in the battle of Waterloo. At Dublin Castle, where votes were recorded from around Ireland, the television cameras focused on a man wearing a bishop’s outfit. He was dancing to Abba’s “Waterloo” on a boom box. “Irish conservatives are meeting their “Waterloo” and I’m celebrating the victory,” he said. The victory could also be called Ireland’s Gay Bastille Day. Victory to the people.
How many people voted? The numbers are impressive – 1.2 million people voted YES, while 734,300 voted NO. As stated before a record 60.4% of the electorate cast their vote. Only one constituency of Roscommon South Leitrim, where the final vote was No on 51.42 percent.
A total of 1,935,907 votes were counted in 43 constituencies, in the largest turnout since 1937.
Late, but Welcome
It has only been 23 years since homosexuality was decriminalized.
Michael Barron founding director of the youth LGBT group BeLonGTo expressed his feelings, “We’ve changed forever what it means to grow up LGBT in Ireland.”
“The Irish people, via the ballot box, have today given each and every gay child and young person in Ireland – and across the world – a strong and powerful message that they are loved, they are cared for, and don’t need to change who they are.”
Ireland’s YES vote was seen around the globe. There are nineteen countries were gays can marry….and it’s not over….more will follow.
I’m proud of the country of my birth, and I’m proud of Canada that passed same-sex marriage in 2005. paula.