Same-sex marriages (SSM), civil unions, etc. in Ireland.
2015-MAY-23/25: Final results of the referendum.
Will the referendum affect other
Couples may be able to marry in 2015-SEP.
In this web site, the acronym LGBT refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender/Transsexual community. The acronym "SSM" refers to
2015-MAY-23: The final results of the referendum vote:
The Guardian reported at about 3 PM local time that:
"Irish voters have decisively voted in favour of marriage equality, making Ireland the first country to do so through the ballot box. Only one of the 43 constituencies voted against the proposal – Roscommon-South Leitrim – while the yes vote exceeded 70% in many parts of Dublin. The No campaigners have paid tribute to their opponents, and the Archbishop of Dublin has said the result should be a wake-up call for the Catholic church in Ireland." 1
By 4:30 PM the final vote count was completed. The Inquisitr.com web site reported that the final tally was:
"1,201,607 [Yes] votes to 734,300 [No]. That’s 62.1 per cent yes to 37.9 per cent no – with a total turnout of 60.5 per cent. ... This historic referendum puts Ireland with 20 other countries that have legalized same sex marriage. 2
Other countries that have legalized marriage by same-sex couples are (in chronological order) The Netherlands in the year 2000, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, Brazil, England and Wales, France, New Zealand, Uruguay, Luxembourg, Scotland, and Finland in 2015. 3
The media cannot quite agree exactly how many countries have attained marriage equality. This is they sometimes count England and Wales as one country and sometimes as two. Also, Finland's marriage law was changed in 2015 but does not become effective until 2017. Finally, the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) must ratify the results of the Irish referendum before couples will be able to apply for their marriage licenses, and marry.
As in many previous plebiscites on SSM in the U.S., the percentage vote in favor was less than predicted by earlier public opinion polls which were running about 70% in favor. This is partly because those who are undecided when answering polling questions often vote against equality when they actually mark their ballots. Also the result of the referendum does not necessarily reflect the actual views of the Irish public. Some of those voters opposed to marriage equality may be more motivated to vote and thus turned out to vote. On the other hand, some voters who may be in favor of same-sex marriage but have no direct personal interest in the matter don't bother to vote.
Will the result of the plebiscite in Ireland influence other countries?
There are only two large predominately English speaking countries that will wtill ban same-sex couples from marriage: Northern Ireland and Australia:
- The plebiscite might have considerable impact in Northern Ireland. The latter is the only part of the U. K. that does not yet allow same-sex couples to marry. Such marriages were legalized in England, Scotland, and Wales during 2014.
Caitriona Ruane, Stormont Assembly Member for the Sinn Fein party in South Down, said:
"The marriage equality rights that will be enjoyed by Irish citizens in the south must be shared by citizens in the north. Sinn Fein will continue to campaign for marriage equality for all in the North, and to end the discrimination against our LGBTI community." 4 ("LGBTI" is a variant of "LGBT" which includes intersexual persons). 5
Gavin Boyd is a spokesperson for the Rainbow Project: a main LGBT rights groups in Northern Ireland. He said that one same-sex couple who were legally married in England has returned to Northern Ireland and has:
"... asked the family court to make a declaration that their marriage was lawfully constituted at inception and that it remains lawful in Northern Ireland." 6
If they succeed, then same-sex couples in Northern Ireland could hop on a ferry or airplane to England, get married there, return home, and have their marriage recognized. That would help the U K's economy to the detriment of Northern Ireland. If the couple's court flling fails, then they will probably appeal their case to a higher court(s).
- Rodney Croome, convener of Australian Marriage Equality, said:
"If there was ever any doubt that marriage equality was inevitable in Australia, the Irish vote has removed it.The questions is not if, but when. ... Australia’s political leaders have no more excuses for dragging the chain." 4
Croome predicts that:
"Australians will feel deeply embarrassed to have fallen behind the traditionally conservative Roman Catholic country."
Actually, the people of Australia strongly favor marriage equality. They are not behind Ireland. Votes appear to exist in the Australian Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry, and Members of Parliament were only one vote short of a majority as of MAY-27. However, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, leader of the Liberal Party, currently refuses to allow a free vote on the topic.
2015-MAY-25: The big question remaining: WHEN will Irish same-sex couples be able to marry?
Before the referendum was held, in anticipation of a positive vote in favor of marriage equality, the Government of Ireland had started to draft legislation. The bill was expected to be enabled by the end of 2015-JUL. Same-sex couples may be able to have their marriages solemnized as early as 2015-September.
The bill will guarantee that faith groups will be able to continue to discriminate against same-sex couples with impunity by refusing to solemnize their marriages. 7However, if they choose to do this, they will risk of alienating a substantial percentage of their membership -- particularly older teens and young adults, many of whom view marriage inequality as a form of discrimination based on homophobic bigotry.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Counting to start in Ireland's landmark referendum on marriage equality," The Guardian, 2015-MAY-23, at: http://www.theguardian.com/
- Tresha Barrett, "Ireland Votes ‘Yes’ To Legalizing Same Sex Marriage In Historic Referendum," Inquisitr, 2015-MAY-23, at: http://www.inquisitr.com/
- Olivia B. Waxman, "20 Other Countries Where Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal Nationwide," Time magazine, 2015-MAY-23, at: http://time.com/
- "As it happened: Early tallies point to a yes, and no campaigners concede. A nation holds its breath," The Journal, 2015-MAY-23, at: http://www.thejournal.ie/
- Fintan O’Toole: "Ireland has left ‘tolerance’ far behind ," The Irish Times, 2015-MAY-25, at: http://www.irishtimes.com/
- Henry McDonald, "Northern Ireland keeps watchful eye on gay marriage vote across the border," The Guardian, 2015-MAY-22, at: http://www.theguardian.com/
- Harry McGee, "Bill allowing gay marriage to be enacted by end of July," The Irish Times, 2015-MAY-26, at: http://www.irishtimes.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2005-MAY-23
Latest update: 2015-MAY-28
Author: B.A. Robinson