Ireland Votes in Favor of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

from The Wall Street Journal,

Approval marks latest victory for gay-rights campaigners in Europe.

Ireland on Saturday became the world’s first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote, after voters backed a proposed constitutional amendment to allow same-sex couples to marry. Final results showed 62% of voters approved the amendment in a referendum Friday, according to state broadcaster RTE. The results show support for gay marriage extended well beyond Ireland’s liberal urban centers and deep into its rural heartlands. Only one district, Roscommon-South Leitrim in Ireland’s midlands, rejected the proposed amendment.

“With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are—a generous, compassionate, bold, joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny told reporters in Dublin following the results. “That ‘yes’ is heard across the living world, as a sound of pioneering leadership from our people.” Approval marked the latest victory for gay-rights campaigners in Europe and represents a significant milestone in Ireland’s move away from the Catholic-hued conservatism that long characterized its society. “It makes me incredibly proud to be Irish,” said Niall Callan, a 33-year-old teacher in Tallaght, near Dublin, who campaigned for a “yes” vote. “It’s a phenomenal coming-of-age for this country.” All of Ireland’s main political parties supported the constitutional amendment, which paves the way for parliament to pass laws removing impediments for same-sex couples to marry. The government has preliminary legislation prepared and will present it to lawmakers as soon as possible, said a spokesman for the Department of Justice and Equality. Campaigners say they hope the first marriages will take place before the end of the year.

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