LGBT community lauds ‘historic’ abortion referendum win in Ireland
LGBT figures have hailed Ireland’s ‘historic’ vote – by an overwhelming majority – to overturn the country’s abortion ban.
The referendum on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the ‘Yes’ campaign, with 66.4 percent of voters opting to reform the Republic of Ireland’s harsh abortion laws.
Now, LGBT figures and allies of the community have praised the outcome of the vote on social media.
Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar – one of few openly gay leaders in the world today – described the vote as a “quiet revolution” and a “great act of democracy” on Twitter.
“Today is a historic day for Ireland,” he said in a video on Twitter. “We voted to amend our constitution by a resounding majority. Almost all parts of the country, men and women, almost all age groups, and social classes have voted to amend our constitution, so that we have a modern constitution for modern people.
“And we’re saying as a nation that we and that we believe that women should be respected in making the decisions that they make.”
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) May 26, 2018
LGBT icon Sue Perkins re-tweeted Varadkar, simply adding: “YES YES YES!!!!”
Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ activist group Radical Queers Resist, which had been covering up graphic anti-abortion images across Dublin with pride flags, said: “Never forget it was ordinary people putting in years of hard work campaiging that made repeal happen.
“Not politicians, regular people fighting for what they believed in and challenging the status quo. Resistance in the face of injustice will succeed. We have shown that.
In a later tweet, the group added: “The activists and people fighting for change in Ireland all know each other now. We have created a strong network of people who care about change. We are motivated, we are empowered, we are connected. We can do ANYTHING.”
The landslide result even surpassed the margin of victory in the country’s equal marriage referendum in 2015, by a vote of 62.07 percent to 37.93 percent.
Ireland’s politicians will now take steps to repeal the eight amendment, which means that unborn foetuses have an equal right to life as pregnant women, effectively bans abortion in the country in all circumstances, except when the mother’s life is in danger.
Varadkar has said he hoped the changes to the law, which will include the legalisation of abortion, will be made by the end of the year.
However, the reform will not apply to Northern Ireland, where abortion remains banned.
Aisling Bea, an Irish comedian and actor, who is supportive of LGBT+ issues and played a lesbian character in ITV drama The Town, wrote on Twitter: “Yes! This was not an issue of young vs old, or men vs women, not against people with faith nor about city folk knowing best.
“We did it together and that is why it feels extra important & exciting.”
Bea even changed her Twitter name to “Aisling WE ONLY BLOODY DID IT IRELAND Bea” in celebration.
Elsewhere, director of UK Black Pride Phyll Opoku-Gyimah posted on Twitter that women and girls “everywhere have the right to be the owners of their bodies and make choices that are right for them.”
Stephen Fry also tweeted about the win, writing: “Ireland has voted for change! Again!”
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However, he highlighted that same-sex marriage is still not yet legal in Northern Ireland, adding: “Now the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland needs and deserves our support.”
Liz Barker, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and an LGBT activist, wrote: “What a great result for women and men in Ireland. Time now for Northern Ireland to care for women in Northern Ireland.”.