Ireland Votes on Legalizing Gay-Marriage

By on May 22, 2015
ireland votes

Ireland Votes on Legalizing Gay-Marriage

ireland votes

The voting polls have opened in Ireland, where Ireland votes on possibly making history, as the republic becomes the first country to ask its electorate to decide on legalizing gay marriage.

 

More than 3 million voters are expected to be casting ballots in Ireland’s 43 constituencies, results of the vote will be in on Saturday. Polling stations opened at 7am BST and close at 10pm.

 

The voting follows a hard-fought and testy battle between conservative and liberal Ireland.

 

Though some 20 other countries worldwide have already legalized gay marriage, Ireland would be the first to do so through a referendum process. The move would mark the culmination of an improbable journey in a country in which homosexual acts were still illegal as recently as 1993.

 

Voter turnout is expected to be higher than in previous referendums in the republic, with some urban areas, particularly in the key greater Dublin battleground, reporting that 20% of the electorate had cast their vote before noon.

 

Turnout out in rural areas is so far said to be slow, and if this trend continues it would be beneficial to the #voteyes campaign.

 

Among those up early to vote in central Dublin was Irish senator and James Joyce academic David Norris. Senator Norris is a gay rights activist lifer whose legal battle resulted in the Irish government decriminalizing homosexuality back in 1993.

 

Donal Og Cusack, one of Ireland’s most famous openly gay sportsmen, spoke of his nerves on the night before the referendum. The gifted athlete confessed he had “slept better before AI final (All-Ireland)“ than he had on Thursday night.

 

In his final live televised interview ahead of polling stations opening, Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, urged voters to #voteyes “for love and for equality”.

But the no campaign, comprising mainly of traditional Catholic intellectuals, writers and activists, have warned a yes vote would create a crisis of personal conscience in Ireland.

 

An alliance of Catholics and Protestants has distributed more than 90,000 anti-gay marriage pamphlets over the past week across Ireland urging a no vote.

Paddy Monaghan, one of the coordinators of the alliance of 100 religious activists, issued a warning on the eve of the referendum.

 

“We have warned in our pamphlet about the major implications on the issue of conscience if there is a yes vote on Friday. If there is a yes vote, will the Muslim printer in Ireland now be obliged to print cartoons of Muhammad? Redefining marriage is sold to us by the media and political establishment as a permissive measure but it will quickly become coercive,” Monaghan said.