Same-sex couples will soon be able to walk down the aisle in Ireland after Irish citizens voted to legalize gay marriage on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
Twenty-two years after decriminalizing homosexuality, Ireland has become the first country to nationally permit same-sex marriage through popular citizen vote. The vote was 62 percent in favor and 38 percent against.
There was some speculation that the opposition was understated because people felt uncomfortable saying no to the press. The outcome was instead completely different and overpoweringly in favor. Over 700,000 were in opposition while 1,201,607 voted for the measure. The result provoked a major street party in the gay district of Dublin close to the national count center.
Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny said that his country had the chance to “create history”. Also, a “yes” vote would “obliterate prejudice, along with irrational fears of difference.”
Ireland has been behind in social freedoms. Abortion is still illegal and can only be performed if it is evident that the mother’s life is in potential danger. Also, divorce had been prohibited until 1996 when a national referendum overturned that rule.
Freshman Venkatasai Jonna said, “Ireland has taken a huge step towards equality. It’s good to know everyone is starting to be accepted.”
Even with all the positive remarks, the Catholic Church is still not in agreement.
Cardinal Pietro Paralin said, “I think you cannot just talk of a defeat of Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity.”
The Archbishop of Dublin described the positive vote as a reality check for the Catholic Church and how far they have drifted away from the young people.
Freshman Riyaz Mohamed said, “The Catholic Church should be for equality. They have no right to call gay marriage a ‘defeat of humanity’. They are the voices of God and can’t judge people for their views.”
All but one of the republic’s 43 parliamentary constituencies voted “yes” to same sex-marriage. The first constituency that declared in favor was the Sligo/North Leitrim, which backed gay marriage 54 percent to 46 percent. Roscommon-South Leitrim was the only county in opposition. The “no” vote had finished at 51.4 percent while “yes” was at 48.6 percent. Most others were 70 percent or more in favor, according to the tally count.
Deputy First Minister Artic Mcguinness said, “The world is moving on and Ireland is taking the lead. Politicians particularly in the north need to reflect on this progress.”
Opposition was largely organized by conservative Catholic groups. Their message was largely based around protecting the traditional family. Despite the destruction they took at the polls, opposition groups took a pacifying tone.
“This is their day and they should enjoy it,” said another group against gay marriage, Mothers and Fathers Matter. They also claimed that one in three Irish people were not represented by the political establishment.
Even if the opposition is bitter about their loss, same-sex marriage has still been legalized in Ireland. Other countries must now follow in their footsteps.
Do you agree with the Catholic Church’s point of view or do you think this is a positive step in social liberation? Vote below “yes” or “no” to same-sex marriage.
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