To the very end, opponents of same-sex marriage in Ireland held out hope. Yesterday they were reporting high numbers of immigrant Africans and Muslims standing in line at polling stations and hoped they would balance out the hordes of young people who were expected to make Ireland the first country in the world to vote for same-sex marriage.
The votes are now counted, and same-sex marriage supporters are expected to win with at least 60 percent of the vote, well below what the polls said they would get, but still landslide proportions.
Fearghas Obeara, a one-time policy adviser to the President of the European Parliament, said, “If confirmed, this result will indeed be tragic for Ireland and beyond, being the first time that SSM gets approved by popular referendum.”
Obeara pointed out what defenders of traditional marriage were up against: “all the political parties, about 160 out of 166 members of parliament, all the media, all the major US multinationals, 90% of the funding was on the Yes side, it is extraordinary, and something approaching a miracle, that 40% of the voters had the courage to vote No.”
In a prepared statement, the Iona Institute, perhaps the leading voice against a yes vote, offered congratulations to the winners for their “handsome victory in the marriage referendum. They fought a very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started.”
Iona’s president David Quinn said, “We believe [we] a fought a good campaign. It was always going to be an uphill battle. However, we helped to provide a voice to the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who did vote No. The fact that no political party supported them must be a concern from a democratic point of view.”
The campaign was marked by charges of hatred and homophobia against gays, often made by officials of the government. Those charges continued on the morning of the victory. On the Marian Finucane radio show this morning in Dublin, voting “no” was described as a “homophobic act.”
The vote in Ireland will likely embolden similar efforts around Europe. With the addition of Ireland, same-sex marriage is now allowed in 18 countries around the world.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse