Equality emerges in Ireland


MCT photo

Ireland was the 18th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. However, there are two other countries, including the US in which same-sex marriage is legal in some jurisdictions. There are currently 37 states in which gay marriage has been legalized.

Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote on Fri., May 22- and it was a landslide.

In a referendum asking whether the voter was in favor of changing the constitution to include same-sex marriage, just over 61% of voters voted in favor.  In total, 1,201,607 voted in favor and 734,300 voted against it.

According to CNN, “The world is moving on and Ireland is taking the lead,”  Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said.

There was doubt beforehand about the referendum being passed due to the country’s primarily Catholic population, and due to speculation that polls were inaccurate because people were hesitant to admit that they would vote against it.

Despite this, only one out of the country’s 43 parliamentary constituencies failed to pass it.

According to CNN, the outcome “disclosed who we are — a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,”  Prime Minister Enda Kenny said.

Although Ireland has had ‘civil partnerships’ offered to gay and lesbian couples since 2010, the distinction of a ‘civil marriage’ holds many more rights and privileges to the couple regarding their legal and financial status.  Northern Ireland is now the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is illegal.

Most of the opposition came from Catholic affiliated groups within Ireland that focused on preserving the traditional family structure.

“… nobody who involves themselves in a campaign does so with anything but the good of their country at heart.  There is no better way to resolve difference than the way we are using today,” said a group statement from Mothers and Fathers Matter, a same-sex opposition group in response to the outcome.

To learn more about the reaction of the Catholic Church, click here.