William Murphy/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Ireland to become first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote

Irish citizens went out in record numbers.


Michelle Jaworski


Published May 23, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 6:37 pm CDT

The votes are still being counted, but with a majority of people voting Yes, Ireland will become the first country to approve a national referendum for same-sex marriage.

Featured Video Hide

Irish citizens went out in overwhelming numbers to vote whether they wanted to have an amendment added to the Constitution, which states, “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” The turnout, which included Irish voters who flew back home to vote at their polling stations, was expected to top 60 percent—the first time that’s happened since the country legalized divorce in 1995.

Advertisement Hide

With voting results pouring in Saturday, the Yes vote is currently close to 65 percent with the Guardian reporting that “Ireland appears certain to pass the gay marriage rights reform.”

David Quinn, the head of the Iona Institute—the Catholic organization that led the No campaign in Ireland—already conceded to the Yes vote.

Advertisement Hide

People in Ireland are already starting to celebrate the victory with citizens flooding the streets to await results and celebrate marriage equality in a country that once voted against abortion and divorce.


Advertisement Hide

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

“We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular vote,” Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s health minister who announced he was gay earlier this year, 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.”

Advertisement Hide

People from all over the world are starting to offer their congratulations to Ireland as well.

Advertisement Hide

According to John Lyons, an openly gay lawmaker in the Irish parliament, the victory was in part due to the young voters who campaigned and even flew home to vote.

“”Most of the young people I canvassed with have never knocked on a door in their lives,” he said. “This says something about modern Ireland. Let’s never underestimate the electorate or what they think.”

Advertisement Hide

Update 11:46am CT, May 23: The referendum has passed

H/T NPR | Photo via William Murphy/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Share this article
*First Published: May 23, 2015, 1:06 pm CDT