In a landmark referendum, Ireland has said ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the world to approve marriage equality via popular vote.
Per reports in The Guardian, ballots from 40 of the country’s 43 constituencies have been counted, with approval for same-sex marriage currently at 62.3%.
Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters gathered in the grounds of Dublin Castle and waved banners and flags as the results came through.
The result is a radical one in traditionally very conservative Ireland, where homosexuality was illegal until 1993, and following the ‘yes’ vote, the country’s Catholic leaders, who had called for a ‘no’, are pondering the implications.
“I think the Church needs to do a reality check right across the board,” said Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin. “Have we drifted away completely from young people? It’s a social revolution that didn’t begin today.”
Ireland’s prime minister Enda Kenny has welcomed the result saying that the majority in the country have “stood up” for those in the gay community by casting an affirmative vote.
“In the privacy of the ballot box, the people made a public statement,” he said. “With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are. We are a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people who say yes to inclusion, yes to generosity, yes to love, yes to gay marriage.”
Rodney Croome, the head of Australian Marriage Equality, has praised the result. “If there was ever any doubt that marriage equality was inevitable in Australia, the Irish vote has removed it,” he said. “The question is not if but when.”
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