Count begins for Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum
Counting has just begun in the Republic of Ireland’s equal marriage referendum.
The same-sex marriage ballots are being counted first out of the two votes that were held yesterday – the other was on the age at which a candidate is eligible to run for president.
Voters were 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.
The result is expected to be announced this afternoon in Dublin Castle. There were no exit polls.
Polling has consistently shown that at least 60 percent of people planned to vote in favour of equality, but campaigners warn that projections could be unreliable, as was seen in the recent UK Parliamentary elections.
The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week said he thinks same-sex marriage will pass – but that it may be closer than previously anticipated.
Many Irish citizens 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.