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Same-sex marriages (SSM), civil unions, etc.

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Part 10:
2015-MAY-23: Votes cast during the marriage
referendum in Ireland are counted.
Initial results show victory for "Yes" side is likely.

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This topic is continued from the previous page

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LGBT symbol 2015-MAY-23: A recap about the referendum:

The plebiscite was held on Friday, MAY-22. Voters were asked a simple question about amending Article 41 of the 1937 Constitution. That article had restricted marriage to the voluntary union of one woman and one man. Voters were asked whether to change the Constitution to read:

"Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex." 1

This referendum has the possibility of making history, if the "Yes" or pro-equality side prevails. That would make Ireland the 20th or 22nd country to extend marriage to same-sex couples. [Sources differ] Ireland would be the first country to do so through a popular vote. There have been a few similar plebiscites conducted in various states of the U.S., but this is the first referendum performed on a country-wide basis.

More than 3.2 million people are eligible to vote. The overall turnout was reported to be higher than average compared to past plebiscites. That is a positive sign, for equality, because there was widespread concern that a very large percentage of those voting "No" -- those opposed to marriage equality -- would turn out to vote, while those who favored same-sex marriage in principle might not bother to vote because the question did not impact their lives to any significant degree.

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2015-MAY-23 at 1 PM local time: Some preliminary results from the plebiscite:

Turnout was heavy in some urban areas where 20% of the electorate had voted before lunchtime. Turnout in the more conservative rural areas of the country was reported to be slow.

Older teens and young adults in the 18 to 25 years-of-age may be key to the results. They total about 400,000 in number and are very heavily in favor of marriage equality. Another group are emigrants, mostly from the UK and Europe, some of whom returned to Ireland so that they could vote.

Counting of the votes started at 9 AM local time on Saturday, MAY-23, which was 4:00 AM Eastern Time in North America. Some early results were expected by mid-morning, with the final result announced about 5 PM, local time. This would be at noon, Eastern Time. 3

Early during the vote counting, some active participants on both sides were declaring victory for marriage equality:

  • The government Minister for Equality, Aodhan O Riordain, posted on Twitter:

    "I'm calling it. Key boxes opened. It's a yes. And a landslide across Dublin. And I'm so proud to be Irish today."

  • The government Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar -- the Republic of Ireland's first openly gay minister -- said that the campaign had been "almost like a social revolution." 2 He said that is appears that about 75% of the votes cast in Dublin were in favor of extending marriage to loving, committed same-sex couples.

  • David Quinn of the Iona Institute, a Roman Catholic organization, said it was:

    "... obviously a very impressive victory for the 'yes' side. ... Obviously there's a certain amount of disappointment, but I'm philosophical about the outcome. ... It was always going to be an uphill battle. There were far fewer organisations on the 'no' side, while all the major political parties were lined up on the 'yes' side and you had major corporations coming out for the first time to say how we should vote on a particular issue."2

  • Peter Tatchell, a British civil rights campaigner, said:

    "The Irish people have voted for love and equality. Oscar Wilde would be so proud. This vote will give hope to millions of same-sex couples around the world who want to marry the person they love. Equal marriage is an unstoppable global trend. The Irish vote is proof that love can triumph over prejudice and discrimination." 1,2

  • Anne O’Neill, a mother from Dublin, who was born in Ireland, has 2 sons. One is straight, the other is gay. She eloquently summed the apparent victory for equality in fewer than a dozen words, saying:

    "I adore them both. And today, both of them are equal." 2

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  • Dublin-born Chris Hudson, is the Unitarian minister at All Souls Church in south Belfast. He said:

    "Many leaders of Christian churches called on the Irish people to vote No, but the Irish people did not heed them. Instead people decided to ‘love their neighbour as themselves’ and decided to embrace the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law, bless them.

    Church leaders really need to look at their message of exclusion and the people’s embrace of inclusion. Christianity is alive and well among the good people of Ireland, but [some of] the church leaders need to catch up." 2

  • Famous UK novelist of Harry Potter fame, J.K. Rowling, tweeted:

    "Sitting here watching the Irish make history. Extraordinary and wonderful." 2

  • An unknown Greek tourist was visiting Dublin Castle where the votes are being counted. He said:

    "I think this is a terrible thing for this country. Something not to be celebrating. We don’t celebrate that people are against the church in Greece and I’m quite astonished to see this in Ireland." 2

  • Cathal Ashbourne-Loftus, is a former UN peace-keeper, a retired Irish soldier, and member of the Christian Solidarity Party -- a Catholic traditionalist political movement in Ireland. He said that as a result of the Yes vote:

    "The sky won’t fall in. ... [However] there is no doubt in my mind that that there will be a flood of cases taken against churches of every persuasion if they refuse to marry same-sex couples in their places of worship. ... Many of the older generation whom we canvassed went from Yes, but that did not translate to them voting No ... they simply stayed at home." 2

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2015-MAY-23: A remark from The Journal as votes continue to be counted:

On The Journal's LiveBlog, an anonymous teenager posted the following message:

"I am a 16 year-old teenager so I had no say in this referendum. But recently, I have discovered that I am bisexual. I didn't tell anyone, for how could I expect them to treat me equally if the law didn't? I didn't want to acknowledge that I might never get married to someone I love. Today, however, when I woke up and heard the news, I started crying. I have already come out to a few of my close friends this morning, knowing that today I am living in a more equal Ireland than the one I went to sleep in yesterday. To everyone out there who voted yes: Thank you for giving me a future where I can be happy. Thank you for changing my life forever.

Not bad for just putting an X in a box, right?" 3

Webmaster's note: After reading this, I wept.

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This topic continues in the next page with more votes counted,

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Counting to start in Ireland's landmark referendum on marriage equality," The Guardian, 2015-MAY-23, at:
  2. "Ireland same-sex referendum set to approve gay marriage," BBC News, 2015-MAY-23 at 1 PM Irish time, at:
  3. "As it happened: Early tallies point to a yes, and no campaigners concede. A nation holds its breath," The Journal, 2015-MAY-23, at:

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Site navigation: Home page > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM Menu > Ireland > here

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Copyright 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-MAY-23
Latest update: 2015-MAY-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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