Ireland becomes first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote – summary
Irish voters have decisively voted in favour of marriage equality, making Ireland the first country to do so through the ballot box. Only one of the 43 constituencies voted against the proposal – Roscommon-South Leitrim – while the yes vote exceeded 70% in many parts of Dublin. The no campaigners have paid tribute to their opponents, and the archbishop of Dublin has said the result should be a wake-up call for the Catholic church in Ireland.
This live blog is now wrapping up. Thanks for your comments. You can read Henry McDonald’s latest report on the historic referendum here.
All the results are in, and the returning officer, Riona Ni Fhlanghaile, has e-sex marriage referendum by 1,201,607 votes to 734,300. That’s 62.1% yes to 37.9% no. The total turnout was 60.5%.
With 40 constituencies having now declared, the Yes vote is 62.3% and No 37.7%. The number of Yes votes is 1,128,209, with 682,932 votes for No.
So happy Ireland have passed the law to get married there. Still genuinely shocks me thou, that this is only just happening!!
With 34 constituencies now declared, the Yes vote is 61.7% and No at 38.3%. The number of Yes votes is 964,616, with 599,505 for No.
As the cliche goes, success has many fathers and in the context of the Yes victory in the Irish gay marriage vote there will be many politicians who will want to claim the credit. It is a fact that this referendum was the brainchild of Eamon Gilmore, leader of the Irish Labour Party back in 2011.
He insisted to his Fine Gael colleagues that a vote be held on same sex marriage in the lifetime of the new government. Gilmore described the proposed referendum as the “civil rights issue of this generation”. Since entering coalition with Fine Gael, Gilmore has been ditched as party leader as Labour took a hammering in the opinion polls. Voters turned on Labour over austerity cuts and water charges with the same venom as the British electorate rejected the Liberal Democrats.
Irish Labour strategists will be hoping this referendum victory will give them some kind of recovery bounce ahead of next year’s general election. But whether Labour gains from today’s stunning pro-gay marriage victory especially in greater Dublin is open to question.
The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has described the almost certain Yes final result as a wake-up call for the Catholic church. “This is a social revolution,” he told RTE Television. “The church has a huge task in front of it get its message across to young people . The church needs to do a reality check.”
Asked if the church was ill-equipped to deal with these issues, he said: “We tend to think of black and white but most of us live our lives in grey.” The church needed to use the result to harness the energy that has been unleashed in favour of equality for all, the archbishop added.
28 of 43 constituencies vote Yes
With 29 of 43 constituencies declared, the Yes vote is running at 62.2% and the No at 37.8%. Only one had a majority of No votes. For more detail check RTE’s handy results page.
The Irish are used to referendums. There have been 35 since 1937, when the Irish voted by plebiscite on the draft constitution that established the Republic of Ireland.
However, the resounding Yes vote in the same-sex marriage referendum is a major milestone, because it is a measure of how much the country has freed itself from the teachings of the Catholic church. Most of the referendums in Ireland have not been about social issues but drier, more straightforward questions.
But it is the referendums in the 1980s that put a mirror up to Irish society and culture. While outwardly there was some support for the kind of sexual liberalisation that the US and the UK had enjoyed in the 1960s and 1970s, inwardly Ireland was lurching into the firmer grip of the Catholic church.
Unmarried couples opting for cohabitation were still frowned upon outside certain parts of Dublin and a series of referendums confirmed the worst for those who had campaigned for abortion, divorce and contraception for all. The “no” to abortion and divorce in the 1983 and 1986 referendums set the cause of the political left back by decades.
Abortion is still illegal and divorce was only legalised following a second referendum in 1995. Even then, only four constituencies outside Dublin voted in favour.
This is why Friday’s vote was as much about a nation growing up and freeing itself from the shackles of the Catholic church and giving respect to fellow humans as it was about same-sex marriage.