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20th Sep 2018

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Ireland votes Yes on same-sex marriage

  • Dublin city centre (Photo: QueenSunshine)

Ireland has voted Yes to same-sex marriage, becoming the first country to enshrine marriage equality in its constitution by popular mandate.

The Yes vote won with 62 percent while 38 percent voted against on a 60.5 percent turnout.

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  • Dublin mural ahead of Friday's referendum (Photo: William Murphy)

“I’m calling it,” equality minister Aodhan O’Riordain tweeted on Saturday (23 May) in Dublin. “Key boxes opened. It’s a Yes. And a landslide across Dublin.”

Prime minister Enda Kenny said the outcome of Friday's referendum sends a “message of pioneering leadership” from the Irish people.

Health minister Leo Varadkar, who recently came out, said the result represents a “social revolution in Ireland” and makes the country "a beacon of equality and liberty to the rest of the world”.

Homosexuality was, until 1993, illegal in Ireland, where the Catholic church exercised a strong grip on society.

But its grip weakened in recent decades amid a series of clerical scandals.

O'Riordain, the equality minister, highliged the extent to which social attitudes have changed even outside cosmopolitan Dublin.

"I’ve seen bellwether boxes open, middle-of-the road areas who wouldn’t necessarily be liberal, and they are resoundingly voting Yes”, he told Reuters.

Social media has been busy, with photos and tweets on emigrants who came back home to vote, and with the hashtags #hometovote and #MarRef trending on Twitter.

The Iona Institute, which promotes socially conservative values and which campaigned No, congratulated the Yes side.

But it urged the government to respect concerns about "freedom of religion and freedom of conscience".

Following the referendum, parliament will introduce a bill to amend the Irish constitution. The Irish Times says the law will pass before the summer break.

The new wording in the Irish charter is to say: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.

The vote means Ireland joins several other EU member states allowing same-sex marriage including Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain, and the Netherlands - the first in the world in 2001.

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

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