The Republic of Ireland has approved same-sex marriage after a referendum on the issue.
Citizens in Ireland voted yesterday on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage in the country.
62.1% percent voted for the measure, with 37.9% percent voting against. The result was announced in Dublin Castle, to a huge jubilant crowd.
Over a million people supported equality, with 1,201,607 voting Yes and just 734,300 voting No, despite fears that a stronger turnout among older religious voters, who are more likely to oppose would might sway the outcome.
Early reports suggested uncharacteristically high turnout, and high urban turnouts provided hope for the ‘Yes’ campaign ahead of the result.
It is thought to be the highest turnout for a referendum in Ireland since the country’s Constitution was first voted on in 1937.
Voters were asked to approve an amendment to the Irish Constitution stating: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
Making same-sex marriage legal requires a change to the constitution – that in Ireland can only be passed through a referendum.
Many Irish citizens travelled back to Ireland to vote, as it was not possible to cast a vote from abroad, with emotional scenes in airports and train stations as large crowds flocked in. Under Irish law, citizens who have been out of Ireland for less than 18 months are still eligible vote.
The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week said he thought same-sex marriage will pass – but that it may be closer than previously anticipated.
A moratorium was is in place across Ireland’s broadcast media preventing discussion of same-sex marriage, until the polls closed.
The Irish Constitution requires referenda on a range of issues that would be usually passed by Parliaments in other countries.