Overwhelming majority approve equality
The Republic of Ireland has voted to allow same-sex marriage. Ireland is the only country to date which has actually held a referendum on the issue. This was wholly necessary as to allow equal marriage was a constitutional matter, and it must now be enshrined in the Irish republic’s written constitution.
The Irish people could not have made themselves clearer either. There was a 60% voter turnout, over 62% of which voted Yes. In voter terms, 1,201,607 people voted in favour of same-sex marriage, while 734,300 voted against.
Ireland had allowed same-sex civil partnerships in 2010. However, the ‘protections’ under these could be changed by the government. Now couples in same-sex marriages will have the same constitutional and legal rights and protections as heterosexual married couples. Those rights and protections can now only be removed by another majority vote.
The vote marks a huge cultural change for Ireland, where the Roman Catholic Church once had not inconsiderable influence, with views towards sexuality and families tended to be extremely conservative.
Come on, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands; time to join the club, drag yourselves into the 21st century and quit being the embarrassment on the doorstep of these isles.