May 31, 2015

The Results Are In - And Irish Ayes Are Smiling

Ireland has become the 20th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, and the first country to do so by a vote of the people.

With 40 out of 43 constituencies counted, the "Yes" vote to approve marriage equality stands at 62.3%. Public broadcaster RTE has announced the result is now certain - not enough ballots remain outstanding to surpass the "Yes" votes already counted.

More than 60 percent of the 3.2 million citizens eligible to vote went to the polls - a large turnout for Ireland. The New York Times reported that government officials, marriage equality advocates and even those who were against the measure, agreed that the outcome was a resounding victory.

As the votes were being counted, hundreds of marriage equality supporters gathered at Dublin Castle cheering  and waving rainbow flags as the results were announced. Many young Irish voters have been posting selfies from the party on Twitter and Instagram.

    "It’s an amazing day to be Irish!" said Rory O’Neill also known as Panti Bliss, Ireland’s foremost drag queen and a leader in the “Yes” campaign, as she arrived at the Dublin Castle celebration.

The vote was a blow to the Catholic Church which campaigned for Catholics to reject the measure. But the Church has been greatly weakened in Ireland by the pedophile priest scandals, and many Irish have turned their back on Catholic leaders. Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin told RTE that the Church now needs to do some soul searching.

    “I think the Church needs to do a reality check right across the board. Have we drifted away completely from young people? It’s a social revolution that didn’t begin today," said Martin, who had argued during the campaign that gay rights should be respected “without changing the definition of marriage”.

The referendum amends Ireland’s Constitution so that civil marriage between two people is now legal “without distinction as to their sex.” But before couples can schedule their wedding dates, the amendment must first be formally ratified by both houses of the Irish Parliament and approved by President Michael Higgins - all of which are considered a formality.

The date that same-sex couples will be allowed marry will be determined during the ratification process. –Source: The New Civil Rights Movement

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