Irish voters have resoundingly backed amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage after the world’s first national vote on the issue.
The official results announced Saturday showed the “yes” support was 62.1 percent nationally. A “yes” victory, however, had been a forgone conclusion early into the official ballot counting.
Gay couples hugged and kissed each other amid scenes of jubilation at counting centers and at the official results center in Dublin Castle, whose cobblestoned central square was opened so thousands of revelers could sit in the sunshine and watch the results live on big-screen televisions.
“We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world, of liberty and equality. So it’s a very proud day to be Irish,” said Leo Varadkar, a Cabinet minister who came out as gay at the start of a government-led effort to amend Ireland’s conservative Catholic constitution. – Tribune wire reports