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Irish vote Yes for gay marriage

Published 23/05/2015

(left to right) Erin Reddy, Dee Campbell and Helen McCarthy at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
(left to right) Erin Reddy, Dee Campbell and Helen McCarthy at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
People gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill (centre), known by his stage name as Panti Bliss has his photo taken with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald (right) at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
The sun shines as people gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Erin Reddy (left) and Dee Campbell at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
A gay marriage supporter kisses her rosary beads at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Bridget Hogg with a cardboard cutout of comedy creation Mrs Brown at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Paul Bonass (left) and Luke Hoare Greene share a kiss at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Jaime Nanci (left) and Michael Barron who were married in Cape Town five years ago at the RDS in Dublin, re-act as early patterns suggest that the campaign to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples will succeed in the referendum on same-sex marriage. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Sean O Tarpaigh, a yes campaigner and Irish language teacher, at the same-sex marriage referendum count centre at Dublin Castle. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss arrives at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss arrives at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss kisses Senator David Norris (left) as Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams looks on at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Ireland is set to enshrine the right to gay marriage in a historic world first. Key campaign groups fighting the rights reform conceded defeat, with results from around the country indicating a two to one majority of voters backing the constitutional change Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill (centre), known by his stage name as Panti Bliss with with Senator David Norris (left) and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Ireland is set to enshrine the right to gay marriage in a historic world first. Key campaign groups fighting the rights reform conceded defeat, with results from around the country indicating a two to one majority of voters backing the constitutional change. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss arrives at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Ireland is set to enshrine the right to gay marriage in a historic world first. Key campaign groups fighting the rights reform conceded defeat, with results from around the country indicating a two to one majority of voters backing the constitutional change. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Seven month old Belle Duffy, held by her mother Deirdre Duffy as counting of votes continues in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age at the RDS in Dublin. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
YES voter Deirdre Duffy and her seventh month old daughter Belle, with YES campaigners (from left) Kristina Vaughan, Mark Dempsey, and Ger O'Keeffe as counting of votes continues in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age at the RDS in Dublin. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Senator David Norris is welcomed by Andrew Hyland of YES Equality (left) as he arrives at the RDS as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age gets under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ballot boxes are emptied as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age is under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Official tally Rhonda Donaghy and James McGrath wait for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Sorcha Nic Mhathuna waits for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Official tally Rhonda Donaghy waits for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ballot boxes are unlocked as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning Saturday May 23, 2015Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age gets under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Official tally Rhonda Donaghy and James McGrath wait for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Senator David Norris arrives at the RDS as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015 Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Newly married couple Anne Fox (nee Cole) and Vincent Fox kiss to celebrate their wedding and also show their support for the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage before casting their votes at a polling station on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Newly married couple Anne Fox (nee Cole) and Vincent Fox celebrate their wedding day by showing their support for the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage as they cast their votes at a polling station on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Carmelite sisters leave a polling station in Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland, Friday, May 22, 2015.
A gay couple pose holding hands as they walk out of a polling station after voting in Drogheda, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Civil partners of four years Paul Higgins (left) and Richard Lucey, who have been in a relationship together for 19 years, prepare to cast their votes at their polling station in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
A homeless person lays beneath a billboard poster promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A man walks past billboard posters promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A man walks past a mural promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past a mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin.
Members of the Yes Equality campaign gather in the center of Dublin, Ireland. People from across the Republic of Ireland will vote in a referendum on the legalization of gay marriage, a vote that pits the power of the Catholic Church against the secular-minded Irish government of Enda Kenny.
16/5/2015.Marriage Equality Referendum. With just six days to go for the voting on the Marriage Equality Referendum on Friday 22 of May, the debate about margins continues with the Yes Vote appearing to be way out in front, particularly in the large cities, but with a fear that in the countryside there may be a large silent No Vote lingering in the long grass. Photo shows people passing a large Yes poster in Dublin City Centre.Photo Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
USI (Union of Students in Ireland) launches 'VoterMotor' a campaign to get the student vote out for the Marriage Equality Referendum.
Sister Loreto Ryan of the Sisters of Charity casts her vote at a polling station in Drumcondra, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation.
Sister Loreto Ryan of the Sisters of Charity leaves after voting at a polling station in Drumcondra, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation.
Tanaiste Joan Burton arrives to cast her vote at St Joseph's National School in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
Tanaiste Joan Burton arrives to cast her vote at St Joseph's National School in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald casts her vote at St Joseph's National School in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
Posters in favour of same-sex marriage sit in the window of a clothing shop in Dublin on May 21, 2015.
A mural in favour of same-sex marriage is pictured on a wall in Dublin on May 21, 2015.
Pedestrians walk past anti same-sex marriage posters in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Pedestrians walk past a mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin.
A Mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny arrives to meet with members of the Yes Equality campaign during a photo call in Dublin, Ireland. The Irish Prime Minister is appealing to Ireland's voters to support the legalization of gay marriage in a referendum that pits the power of the Catholic Church against his government.
Declan Waters, owner of the Holy Love Information Centre, adjust his Irish flag as it flys above anti same-sex "Vote No" posters in Knock, west Ireland. In the village of Knock in the west of Ireland, support for a "No" vote in the May 22 same-sex marriage referendum is strong, as it is in many rural areas where the Catholic Church still holds sway.
A woman walks past anti same-sex "Vote No" posters in Knock, west Ireland. In the village of Knock in the west of Ireland, support for a "No" vote in the May 22 same-sex marriage referendum is strong, as it is in many rural areas where the Catholic Church still holds sway.
Comedian Oliver Callan takes part in A Noble Call for Marriage Equality, an arts event in support of a Yes vote in Ireland's Gay marriage referendum, at the Abbey Theater in Dublin.

A new era of equality has been heralded in Ireland as the country overwhelmingly voted in favour of gay marriage.

Twenty-two years since homosexuality was decriminalised, the Republic wrote itself into history books by becoming the first in the world to adopt the social reform through a popular poll.

Some 1.2 million people backed the campaign to enshrine rights for same-sex couples in the Constitution, almost two thirds of those who voted.

New laws on gay marriage will be put to the Dail parliament before the summer potentially paving the way for the first ceremonies to take place before the end of the year.

Leo Varadkar, Health Minister and Ireland's first openly gay cabinet member, described the impact the momentous victory had on the country.

"Something has been awakened in the Irish people ... it was not just a referendum it was more like a social revolution," he said.

In stirring and emotional scenes in the grounds of Dublin Castle, the near two to one majority was officially declared shortly before 7pm sparking tears and joy.

About 2,000 people gathered in the normally quiet upper courtyard waving pride flags, feather boas and umbrellas as couples embraced and kissed under a huge screen capturing the moment.

Outside the imposing iron gates of the castle, hundreds of others unable to get in joined crowds spilling out from nearby bars to share the moment.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny paid tribute to the 60,000 young people who registered to vote in recent weeks and thousands of emigrants who came home from as far afield as Canada, the US and Australia to cast ballots on Friday.

"It's a piece of history," he said.

The result is all the more significant for the social shift it heralds in a country which was traditionally a bastion of Catholicism and conservative lifestyles.

Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, declared the groundswell of support for same-sex couples was a social revolution that did not happen in the last day.

"I think really the Church needs to do a reality check," the cleric said.

Voters were asked one simple, specific question on whether to amend Article 41 of the 1937 Constitution by adding a new clause to a section titled The Family.

It asked them to support or reject a change to the 78-year-old document which reads: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

There was only one blot on the landscape with one of the country's 43 constituencies, Roscommon-South Leitrim opposing the constitutional change by a narrow margin of 51.42% voters against extending marriage rights to gay people.

The biggest support came in Dublin South East where just shy of 75% of voters backed the reform.

Already the resounding victory for gay rights campaigners is being billed as a massive boost for the Republic's reputation on the international stage.

At the same time attention was shifting to Northern Ireland, one of the few regions of Europe were gay marriage is not enshrined in law.

Colm O'Gorman, director of Amnesty International Ireland and a married gay man with two children, said the vote sent a message that all people are cherished and valued.

"It has a great resonance here in Ireland but it's one that's going to echo around the world," he said.

Amnesty revealed plans to ramp up its campaigns for marriage equality in Belfast with director Patrick Corrigan adding: "Northern Ireland is now the last bastion of discrimination against gay people in these islands"

The official result showed almost 1.95m people went to the polls - a higher than normal turnout of 61%.

A large proportion of that was down to students' unions encouraging members to get their names on the electoral register and a spontaneous influx of voting emigrants who marked their return on social media with #hometovote.

Some 734,300 people voted against the proposal, the 34th to be made to the country's constitution which contains seemingly outdated clauses such as a woman's place being in the home.

Senator David Norris, who fought from the 1970s to 1993 to have homosexuality decriminalised, said it was a wonderful result.

"We've been brought on board as equal citizens by the generosity of and decency of our straight and fellow citizens and for that I am deeply grateful," he said.

Church of Ireland bishops said: "We would now sincerely urge a spirit of public generosity, both from those for whom the result of the referendum represents triumph, and from those for whom it signifies disaster."

Grainne Healy, co-director of the Yes Equality group, said: "Today's result means that having been 'branded and isolated' for decades, each lesbian and gay person knows now that they too belong in Ireland, as full, equal citizens."

Mothers and Fathers Matter, a group which campaigned for a No vote, said: "From our point of view, we have represented a proportion of the population greater than those who support any political party.

"One in three Irish people in this campaign was not represented by the political establishment, the media or the institutions of the state."

Joan Burton, Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) and Labour Party leader, said Ireland had chosen to create a more compassionate and egalitarian constitution.

"When I think back on this campaign, I'll think of many things," she said.

"I'll think of the people who made it happen, and those whose lives will be forever changed.

"I'll think of the joyous reality that when the time came, our country stood up for its people - all its people - and said Yes to equality."

The Labour Party spearheaded political calls for the referendum after going into coalition government in 2011.

Ms Burton added: "But most of all, I'll think of the children.

"The children in every town, village and schoolyard who will now grow up knowing their country accepts them - whoever it is they one day grow to be, and whoever it is they one day grow to love."

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