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Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly In Favor Of Gay Marriage

  • RFE/RL

Angela McGlanaghey displays badges in favor of same-sex marriage in Donegal, Ireland.

Angela McGlanaghey displays badges in favor of same-sex marriage in Donegal, Ireland.

Ireland has become the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular national vote.

Official results from the May 22 referendum showed that 62.1 percent voted in favor of amending the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

More than 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot in the vote, which was held 22 years after homosexual acts were decriminalized in traditionally Catholic Ireland.

Thousands of people gathered at Dublin Castle on May 23 to watch the results being announced on a big screen.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who came out as gay earlier this year, was among them.

He said, "This is really Ireland speaking with one voice in favor of equality."

"For me, it wasn't just a referendum,” he added. “It was more like a social revolution."

Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton also welcomed the results, saying his country would now be a “more inclusive and diverse country."

However, David Quinn, leader of a Catholic think tank, said he was troubled by the fact that no political party backed the "no" cause.

Voters were asked whether they agreed with the statement: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

Just one constituency out of 43 voted “no.”

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 20 countries across the world.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and the BBC
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