Ireland appears to have voted heavily in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in a historic referendum that marks a dramatic social shift in the traditionally Catholic country, government ministers and opponents of the bill said on Saturday.
Final results are not expected until later in the day in a vote that would make Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote, just two decades after the country decriminalised homosexuality.
State broadcaster RTE said the victory appeared to be overwhelming and government minister Kevin Humphreys predicted the margin would be two-to-one.
“I think it’s won,” Equality Minister Aodhan O’Riordain told Reuters at the main count centre in Dublin. “The numbers of people who turned out to vote is unprecedented. This has really touched a nerve in Ireland today.”
Gay marriage is backed by all political parties, championed by big employers and endorsed by celebrities, all hoping it will mark a transformation in a country that was long regarded as one of the most socially conservative in Western Europe.
Read more at Reuters