Ireland shows change is possible

The work of supporters, like these at the 2009 gay pride parade in Dublin, has paid off; photo by Charles Hutchins, via Flickr Creative Commons

The work of supporters, like these at the 2009 gay pride parade in Dublin, has paid off; photo by Charles Hutchins, via Flickr Creative Commons

Irish voters have spoken, and 62.1% of them have made clear their support for same-sex marriage. The first country to ask voters to decide on the issue has opted for equity by a comfortable majority. Doing so made them the 20th country to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians.

Reacting to the vote, Prime Minister Enda Kenny gave a short, moving speech, in which he said, “With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are — a generous, passionate, bold and joyful people. Yes to inclusion, yes to generosity, yes to love, yes to equal marriage.”

The joy was palpable as supporters gathered to watch the results come in from around Ireland. High numbers of young people turned out to vote, some traveling from overseas to be part of the historic moment.

Since the 1990s, when child sex abuse scandals rocked the Catholic Church, the religious body’s hold over the population has been waning. RTE News spoke to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who said the referendum represents significant social change among young people and that “the church needs to do a reality check across the board.”

Ireland’s majority vote gives encouragement to supporters in countries still wrestling with the question of whether or not to recognize same-sex couples as having the same rights as those in heterosexual relationships. We are moving ever closer to the day we will look back and wonder why on earth there was ever such a fuss over a simple matter of human rights. Thank you, Irish supporters, for putting the pressure on democracies still dragging their feet.

Read more about the historic vote:

 

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2 comments
Michelle - May 25, 2015

Awesome awesome speech by the Irish PM. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Congrats Ireland.

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