The Republic of Ireland made history on Saturday by becoming the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage in a referendum.
A final tally showed that 62 percent of Irish voters marked their ballots in favor of marriage equality, while 38 percent opposed it. Almost 2 million people participated in the voting. That’s quite a turnout.
Press releases and official statements poured from LGBT organizations worldwide, celebrating the result of Ireland’s historic referendum.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement: “With a nationwide landslide in favor, Ireland now becomes the first country in the world to pass the freedom to marry by popular referendum, as well as the 21st nation and the 10th predominantly Catholic country in which same-sex couples can marry. Our Irish colleagues at Yes Equality ran a magnificent campaign and Freedom to Marry is proud to have shared what we’ve learned in our own campaign here in the US. The global momentum for the freedom to marry reflects and reinforces the progress we are making here in the United States—and we look now to the Supreme Court to bring our country to national resolution, following Ireland’s good example.”
Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, echoed those sentiments and underscored the significance of Ireland being predominantly Catholic: “In a world increasingly wracked by violence and economic austerity, Ireland's vote for LGBT equal marriage rights…is a welcome achievement for freedom and equality. While no minority's rights should be held hostage to a popularity contest, it is nonetheless gratifying that overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland rejected the church hierarchy's bigotry and instead voted for equal rights.”