Irish legalise gay marriage
DUBLIN (AP) – Irish voters backed legalising gay marriage by a landslide, electoral officials announced Saturday – a stunning result that illustrates the rapid social change taking place in this traditionally Catholic nation.
Friday’s referendum saw 62.1 per cent of Irish voters saying “yes” to changing the nation’s constitution to allow gay marriage. Outside Dublin Castle, watching the results announcement in the castle’s cobblestoned courtyard, thousands of gay rights activists cheered, hugged and cried at the news.
“With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny proclaimed as he welcomed the outcome.
The unexpectedly strong percentage of approval surprised both sides. Analysts and campaigners credited the “yes” side with adeptly using social media to mobilise first-time young voters and for a series of searing personal stories from Irish gay people that convinced voters to back equal marriage rights.
Ireland is the first country to approve gay marriage in a popular national vote. Nineteen other countries have legalised the practice.