The Republic of Ireland became the first nation in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote. By a margin of 62% of votes cast, Irish citizens, on Saturday May 23, approved amending their constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The BBC is reporting 1,201,607 yes votes, and 734,300 no votes, in a nation with a population of 4.6 million residents.
It became evident early on that the ‘yes’ vote was winning, and winning big. Both sides recognized the landslide that had a 60% turnout for the vote. Only one constituency (voting district), mostly rural Roscommon-South Leitrim had a majority ‘no’ vote, according to the BBC.
Today’s vote comes only 22 years after homosexual acts were decriminalized in the island nation. Catholic Church ArchBishop for Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said the church “has a huge task in front of it. I think really the church needs to do a reality check.”
Irish citizens from around the world were reported to have returned home to vote in the referendum. After the returns were announced, large crowds were reported in the capital city Dublin, celebrating the yes vote.
In the United States, 38 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage (2 of those states with some limitations) but only the state of Washington has implemented that recognition through popular vote. All others have been through court actions. The Supreme Court of the United States will rule on the question this session, after hearing oral arguments earlier this year.