The Irish are going to the polls today to vote on a referendum on whether to legalize same-sex marriage in Ireland. The referendum has been hotly debated for months. So far, the turnout is even hire than expected. From the Irish Times,
Ireland is the first country to vote on marriage equality and in Dublin some turnout was seen as quite high for lunchtime.
Polling stations across the country opened this morning at 7am, with just over 3.2 million people are entitled to vote today.
For such an important referendum, Irish people living around the world are flying #hometovote. Gawker has a roundup of some of these tweets, documenting travelers from Ethiopia, Canada, and as far away as Thailand.
On top of this being the first instance of a nation-wide vote on same-sex marriage, it is notable how large the swing in public opinion has been in the last Western country to decriminalize homosexuality, doing so just 22 years ago. From the New York Times,
In Ireland, a Roman Catholic country that has long been known for a seemingly conservative streak, the lack of a strong backlash during the referendum campaign has been notable, even as opponents of the measure have mobilized. Past referendums on divorce and abortion were deeply divisive, but the stature of the Catholic Church has eroded after a series of scandals that included the abuse of children.
Just three years ago, former Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore of the left-leaning Labour Party described same-sex marriage as “quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation.” Taking up a recommendation in the 2012 national Constitutional Convention, Mr. Gilmore pushed the issue toward Friday’s vote.
Not to be overlooked is the perversity of allowing a country to vote on the rights of the minority, demonstraited beautifully in this ad from 2009.
Here at Queereka, we want to give a big shout out to our Irish readers! Happy voting, and best of luck on the referendum!
Featured image via Aidan Crawley/EPA