Ireland Makes History: First Country in the World to Vote for Gay Marriage

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Ireland Makes History: First Country in the World to Vote for Gay Marriage

Legalizing marriage equality "makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. It’s a very proud day to be Irish."

Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny, who supports marriage equality, said the vote was sending "a message of pioneering leadership" from the Irish people. (Photo Aidan Crawley/EPA)

The results are in: Ireland has officially become the world's first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

With a final count of 62.1 percent voting yes, with a total turnout of 60 percent, marriage equality is now legal in Ireland.

Responses from officials were vastly positive. Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny, who supports marriage equality, said the vote was sending "a message of pioneering leadership" from the Irish people. The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that the vote signals the start of a "social revolution."

Leo Vradkar, Irish Minister of Health and the country's first openly gay minister, said the overwhelming support for marriage equality indicated "the Irish people had their minds made up on this some time ago."

"We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate," Vradkar said. "That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. It’s a very proud day to be Irish."

As Common Dreams reported on Friday, the vote is historic not just because it makes Ireland the first country to legalize marriage equality by a popular vote, but also because the populace is about 80 percent Catholic and only introduced civil partnership four years ago. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 19 countries worldwide.

"The Irish people have voted for love and equality," British rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said on Saturday. "Oscar Wilde would be so proud. This vote will give hope to millions of same-sex couples around the world who want to marry the person they love. Equal marriage is an unstoppable global trend. The Irish vote is proof that love can triumph over prejudice and discrimination."

The Guardian is providing live updates on the results here.

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