With the official results tallied, Ireland has become the first nation in the world to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote. Strong opposition campaigns in the largely-Catholic country notwithstanding, the Irish overwhelmingly voted to approve the ballot measure.
Reporting earlier today on Friday’s referendum, Reuters said that “more than 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot, the highest turnout at a referendum there in over two decades.” Archibishop Diarmuid Martin declared that the result indicates a “social revolution. It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the Church has a huge task ahead of it,” Reuters quotes him telling Irish national broadcaster RTE.
Previously, both sides of the campaign acknowledged that the “yes” campaign had won.
NPR quotes Ireland’s Health Minister, Leo Varadkar, as saying that Ireland is “the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. It’s a very proud day to be Irish.” Varadkar came out as openly gay in January as the referendum campaign was ramping up. He added that 70% of Dubliners appear to have voted in support of the measure.
David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, which led the No camp in Ireland’s debate over same-sex marriage, tweeted his brief but congratulatory concession to the Yes campaign:
NPR’s Ari Shapiro adds that conservative Irish areas that had previously voted against the legalization of divorce in the majority-Catholic country in the 1990s have returned strong Yes votes for same-sex marriage. –sbs