Ireland Chooses Love in Historic Referendum on Gay Marriage
By a margin of nearly 2-to-1, Ireland becomes the first country on Earth to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.
Around 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Ireland started to count votes for its historic referendum on same-sex marriage. While most polls conducted in the past few weeks looked favorable for gay marriage advocates ( about 78 percent of polled voters supported legalization), tensions were high and the outcome, uncertain. Thousands of people flew into Ireland on Friday to vote before the polls closed. At 2 p.m. today, the results were announced: over 62 percent of the population voted in favor of the referendum, making Ireland the only country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.
It’s a huge development for a country that just 21 years ago, decriminalized sexual orientation. In 1998, Ireland passed The Employment Equality Act , which prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. While the United States allows marriage in some states, and has enacted anti-discrimination statutes in others, federal protections lag behind state laws .
Organized under the hashtag # HometoVote , thousands of people flew in to cast their votes in favor of the referendum, leading to a decisive 1,128,209 vote majority.