Ireland votes overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage


Though the total isn't in, tallies from key constituencies suggest that Ireland's referendum on approving same-sex marriage is a win for "Yes."

The BBC reports that the result became apparent not long after counting was underway, with about 75 percent in favor. Campaigners opposed to same-sex marriage have conceded defeat.

If the change is approved, the Republic of Ireland would become the first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

Minister for Equality Aodhan O Riordain said on Twitter: "I'm calling it. Key boxes opened. It's a yes. And a landslide across Dublin. And I'm so proud to be Irish today."

The vote is a striking international win for gay rights, as deeply-Catholic Ireland is historically among the more conservative western European countries. Divorce was only made available in 1997, and homosexual behavior decriminalized in 1993.

Here is a perfect tweet from Irelands's equality minister.

From yesterday's roundup:

"If the Irish can vote "Yes," the thought goes, anyone can," writes Amy Davidson in The New Yorker. "If they can see how a conservative belief in the institution of marriage and in the unity of families, and an atavistic desire to be present at the wedding of one's own children, translate into support for same-sex marriage so can, say, Mississippians."

The campaigns, for and against, served to illustrate the broader divisions in Irish society. The No campaign, in particular, made sharp use of fear as a motif, identifying wholesome Catholics as the real victims of intolerance. But the church has paid a high price for its longtime abuses: polls have support at about 70%, though there is some question about the accuracy of polling.

Even if it's close, the pace of change in Ireland has been remarkable. A 2013 International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association map of local support for same-sex relationships put Ireland at only 36%, though it took into account factors other than public opinion.


Previously: Ireland votes on same-sex marriage