Figures suggest the Republic of Ireland has voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a historic referendum. More than 3.2 million people were asked whether they wanted to amend the country’s constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
First Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marrriage Through Popular Vote
What ‘yes’ vote would mean
The Republic of Ireland has a written constitution which can only be changed by referendum.
If the proposal is passed, a marriage between two people of the same sex would have the same status under the Irish constitution as a marriage between a man and a woman.
They would be recognised as a family and be entitled to the constitutional protection for families.
Civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been legal in Ireland since 2010, giving couples legal protection which could be changed by the government.
Courage to Come OUT
The Wording of the Referendum
They were asked whether they agreed with the statement: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
The referendum was being held 22 years after homosexual acts were decriminalised in Ireland.
In 2010, the Irish government enacted civil partnership legislation, which provided legal recognition for gay couples.
But there are some important differences between civil partnership and marriage, the critical one being that marriage is protected in the constitution while civil partnership is not.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 19 countries worldwide.
With the once mighty Catholic Church’s influence ravaged by child abuse scandals, opinion polls indicated the proposal would pass by as much as two-to-one, making Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote.
Irish national broadcaster RTE said it appeared to have been one of the highest ever turnouts for a referendum in the country, with turnout likely to reach 60 percent in Dublin. Only 39 percent voted nationally in an unsuccessful bid to abolish the upper house of parliament in 2013.
Well done, Ireland.