Ireland Votes Yes on Gay Marriage

Ireland

Ireland has voted yes in favor of gay marriages. Same sex couples will soon have the same rights in matrimony that heterosexual couples do, as a majority of the voters chose to change their country’s constitution on Friday. On Saturday in front of the press, at the Dublin castle, the official results were publicized. There were 1.2 million or 62 percent of the votes that were in favor of a law change, but 734,300 were not. According to Riona Ni Fhlanghaile, an authorized representative of the election, also stated that more than 55 percent of the nation, that is mostly catholic, turned out to vote on the issue. As soon as they started to count the ballots there were no uncertainties of the outcome.

Just as in most countries, Ireland is divided on this issue, and officials were unsure if the conservative way of thinking could handle a change such as this. Up until around the early 1990’s, homosexuality was illegal.

This campaign received a considerable amount of political support. The Prime Minister Edna Kenny, announced that voting in favor of the new law would make history, and does away with the sexual bias towards same-sex couples, as well as illogical fears. After the results were announced, Kenny said that this sends the message that Ireland is kind, and courageous. The Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton, said the country wrote a brand new chapter in history, and that it is such a moving moment. The leader of the Sinn Fein political party said it was a big day for impartiality. Some feel that the world is going forward, and Ireland is showing everyone the way, and can learn from their example.

Ireland is at the frontline for social change, shoving aside the disapproval of the Catholic church, and voting yes to gay marriage. The country is the first to legalize same-sex marriage through the popular vote, only one district voted no on the issue. Even though the church is very dominate in the country, its influence has diminished over recent years, because attitudes, especially among the younger population, has shifted and is more accepting of change. With this vote, the country is saying it is moving on to sexuality equality, and accepting an unbiased way of life.

Many were surprised by the overwhelming support, it was perceived that the older ways would win out over the newer, more liberal way of thinking. There was a more united front for this change than any one thought there would be. Activist David Norris is the first one to speak out for change, and he has fought for decades for this. He is now 70 years old, and recalls in his younger years, how he had to hide who he was, because of the fear of persecution, as well as prosecution. Everyone outside of the media was afraid to even mention the subject.

Ireland allowed the entire country to vote at once on gay marriage, in America it was left up to each individual state, and only three states legalized same-sex marriages by the popular vote. Maine and Washington in December of 2012, and Maryland in 2013 changed their law this way.

Same sex couples will be allowed to enter into civil marriages, which means that a church is under no obligation to perform a religious ceremony for gay and lesbian couples. Even though the church put up a strong opposition to Ireland voting yes to gay marriage, with their ‘preserve the traditional family’ campaign, they tweeted a congratulatory comment. Another group that opposed this movement said, this was their day to rejoice and celebrate their victory. Another supporter of the opposition said that it was a difficult journey for each side of the polls, but everyone had what is best for the country in their heart.

By Katherine Miller-Chichester

Sources:

CNN.com: Ireland votes  in favor of same-sex marriage
The New York Times: Ireland votes to approve Gay marriage putting country in vanguard
Procon.org: 37 states with legal gay marriage and 13 with same-sex marriage bans
Photo courtesy of sushiesque’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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