Polls close in Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum
Voting has finished across Ireland in a referendum to decide whether same-sex marriage should be legal.
The Republic of Ireland was voting today on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage in the country.
Voters have been 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 a change to the constitution – that in Ireland can only be passed through a referendum.
Polls opened at 7am this morning, and closed at 10pm. Early reports are of an uncharacteristically high turnout.
There is no exit poll, and counting does not take place overnight in Ireland – with the count set to begin across the country from 9am tomorrow. The final result is set to be declared in Dublin Castle.
Many Irish citizens have travelled back to Ireland to vote, as it is 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 thinks 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.
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 Irish Constitution requires referenda on a range of issues that would be usually passed by Parliaments in other countries.