Why Ireland is voting on same-sex marriage tomorrow
Voters in Ireland are heading to the polls tomorrow, to vote on proposals to introduce same-sex marriage.
The Republic of Ireland is voting on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage in the country.
Despite claims from the ‘No’ campaign that the referendum will “redefine the family”, it will only affect the issue of marriage – with the country passing same-sex adoption without a referendum last month.
Voters will be asked to approve an amendment to the Irish Constitution that states: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” Making same-sex marriage legal requires this change to the constitution that can only be passed with a referendum.
Polls are set to open at 7 AM tomorrow morning, and will stay open until 10 PM.
Counting will take place on Saturday 23 May 2015 from 9am, with the result set to be declared in Dublin Castle.
The timing has caused jokes about a potential clash with the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday, with drag artist Panti Bliss dubbing it the “gayest day ever”.
A moratorium is in place across Ireland’s broadcast media that prevents discussion of same-sex marriage until the polls close.
Despite a consistent lead for the Yes campaign in the polls, there are fears that a stronger turnout among older religious voters, who are more likely to oppose equality, might sway the outcome.
Polling has consistently shown that at least 60 percent of people plan to vote in favour of equality, but campaigners warn that projections could be unreliable, citing the shock result in the recent UK Parliamentary elections.
The vote does not affect Northern Ireland – where the Democratic Unionist Party continues to block all attempts to pass LGBT rights legislation including same-sex marriage.
The Irish Constitution requires referenda on a range of issues that would be usually passed by Parliaments in other countries.