The result of Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage has become official: an overwhelming “yes”.
Celebrations began in Dublin and elsewhere as it was announced that more than 62 percent had voted in favour of changing the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot.
Turnout was high, at over 60 percent of eligible voters.
The move has been supported by all political parties, large employers and celebrities.
Well before the final result was known “no” campaigners had conceded defeat.
Ireland becomes the first country in the world to make same-sex marriage via a popular vote.
“To send this message to the world and to LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender) young people in Ireland and across the world that Ireland is the first country in the world to introduce marriage equality by popular vote, it’s a massive statement and we haven’t just done it by small numbers. It’s an overwhelming vote,” said Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.
The Catholic Church, still very influential in the country, opposed gay marriage but limited its campaigning to church congregations.
The vote represents a huge transformation in Ireland , which only decriminalised homosexual acts two decades ago.