Belfast Telegraph

Same-sex marriage officially becomes law in the Republic of Ireland

It's official, the Republic of Ireland's same-sex marriage bill has officially become law.

Last May, history was made when the Republic became the first country to introduce same-sex marriage by popular vote.

In May over 60% of voters endorsed the move in a referendum.

The first same-sex marriages are expected to begin in November.

Earlier this week the bill passed through the Oireachtas meaning it just needed a final signature from President Michael D Higgins.

Today the bill was signed into law.

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Speaking ahead of the signing, Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the “Green jersey turned rainbow” as the legislation awaited its final stage.

Ms Fitzgerald said the passing of the Marriage Bill 2015 was “truly historic day”.

Surrounded by Fine Gael, Labour and Independent politicians, the minister said: “It has been a long journey but today is a good riposte for the prejudice of the past.”

Standing beside Ms Fitzgerald, former Education Minister Ruairi Quinn thanked Fine Gael for agreeing to the Labour Party’s proposal to have marriage equality as part of the Coalition’s Programme for Government.

Ms Fitzgerald said many people contributed to the passing of the referendum but paid a special tribute to Senator David Norris for his campaign on gay rights for more than four decades.

She said many people suffered and left Ireland because of the prejudice towards gay people.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said it is a day of “great emotion” and “political achievement” for the people of Ireland.

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