There will be same sex marriages for the first time in Ireland in autumn after the country’s overwhelming rainbow revolution.
Following a massive yes vote of 62.1 percent against a no of 37.9 percent in the first popular poll of a nation’s people on the issue in the world, the government announced it will fast-track legislation to allow same sex marriage.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has announced it is her intention to have the Marriage Bill 2015 enacted by the end of July following a turnout of 60.5 percent which is high for a referendum in Ireland.
Fitzgerald’s plan to enact the legislation before the summer recess means, allowing for a time-frame with local notices of marriage intentions, the first wedding between people of the same sex could happen in Ireland in August or, at the latest, early September.
“I am very conscious that many couples will want to get married as soon as possible. I am working to make that happen,” Fitzgerald said.
“The Irish people have chosen decisively to extend the right to marry to same sex couples. I am particularly proud that the right to marriage equality will now be enshrined in our Constitution as a result of a popular vote.”
Irish people traveled from all around the world to be home in time to vote in last Friday’s referendum. Ryanair reported that for many days before Friday all flights from Britain into Ireland were fully booked.
Despite 11th hour newspaper polls which indicated the result would be tighter than earlier predicted, the population voted overwhelmingly for all citizens to have the equality campaigners said was fought for in 1916. The only constituency in the Republic which voted no was Roscommon-South Leitrim.
Rural and urban folk united in a call for yes, prompted by pleas from several public personalities including former President Mary McAleese whose son is gay, and respected TV3 political commentator Ursula Halligan who came out as gay during the campaign.
Outspoken Senator Katherine Zappone proposed emotionally on national television to her partner Ann Louise Gilligan -- who accepted -- and gay Senator David Norris joked that he would be flower girl at the wedding.
The Catholic Church was stunned by the high numbers who supported gay marriage, and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said there must be a “reality check” on its relationship with the country’s youth population.
He acknowledged that for some young people, the church had become “almost alien territory” to them after school.
“If the leadership of the Irish Catholic Church don’t recognize that, then they are in severe denial,” Martin added.
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said that Ireland’s passing of the marriage referendum constitutes a “defeat” that highlights a gap between the church and modern society.
Meanwhile, the Labor Party will mount a fresh bid to further liberalize the country’s divisive abortion laws on the back of the huge support secured for same-sex marriage.
But Fine Gael, the leading partner with Labor in government, warned that it will not be rushed into further addressing the country’s abortion laws.