In Defence of Liberty

Driven by data; ridden with liberty.

Freedom to Marry in Ireland

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 23:  People celebrate a landslide victory of a Yes vote after a referendum on same sex marriage was won by popular ballot vote by a margin of around two-to-one at Dublin Castle on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. Voters in the Republic of Ireland chose in favour of amending the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote.  (Photo by Clodagh Kilcoyne/Getty Images)

DUBLIN, IRELAND – MAY 23: Voters in the Republic of Ireland chose in favour of amending the country’s constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote. (Photo by Clodagh Kilcoyne/Getty Images)

By popular vote

Ireland became the first nation in the world to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples by popular vote.

The Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill was placed before the Oireachtas, Ireland’s legislature, by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government in January 2015.

Given the “ample case law” that marriage in Ireland was understood as between one man and one woman, this change could not be achieved through an Act of the Oireachtas alone.

All constitutional amendments must be accepted or rejected by a referendum.

“Without distinction as to their sex”

Citizens were asked whether “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex” should be added to the Irish constitution.

The ‘Yes’ campaign for this referendum received over 3.2m votes in this plebiscite, taking 62% of the overall vote.

All but one of Ireland's electoral constituencies voted in favour of this constitutional amendment. (Source: CBC/Reuters)

All but one of Ireland’s electoral constituencies voted in favour of this constitutional amendment. (Source: CBC/Reuters)

The turnout was 60.5%.

By contrast, the plebiscite for the nineteenth amendment of the Irish constitution, which accepted the terms of the British-Irish Good Friday Agreement in 1998, had a 56.2% turnout.

There were popular calls on social media to say Irish citizens in other countries should fly “home to vote”.

Proud and letting London know. #gaymarriage #referendum #maref #irelandvotesyes #equality

A post shared by Katherine De Rozario (@katcutsme) on

Businesses and Charities in Support

Ireland’s main political parties — Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein — supported the constitutional amendment.

Many business groups and charities similarly advocated for the amendment, whilst religious groups were formally neutral or opposed.

Some constituencies in Dublin received over 72% of the vote.

The constituency of Roscommon-South Leitrim was alone with opposing the referendum, with 48.5% of cast votes.

The referendum was decided on the basis of all valid ballots, rather than electoral colleges of constituencies.

A referendum to lower the age of eligibility to be Ireland’s president from 35 to 21 was held on the same day, and roundly rejected by the electorate, with ‘No’ achieving 73.1% of the vote.

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This entry was posted on May 24, 2015 by in European Politics and tagged , , .
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