Ireland becomes first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote

Ireland has officially passed the same-sex marriage referendum with 1.2 million people voting in its favour. The result was confirmed just before 7pm on Saturday although the result was clear from very early in the count. The Yes vote prevailed by 62 to 38 per cent with a large 60.5 per cent turnout. In total, 1,201,607 people voted in favour with 734,300 against, giving a majority of 467,307. The total valid poll was 1,935,907.

As the result emerged on Saturday afternoon thousands of people gathered in the courtyard of Dublin Castle amid scenes of widespread jubilation.

Senior politicians welcomed the result, with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar saying the overwhelming Yes vote makes Ireland a “beacon of light” for the rest of the world in terms of liberty and equality.

“It’s a historical day for Ireland,” he told RTÉ, a “social revolution”, adding that had any constituencies voted No, it would only have been a handful. In the end there was just one. Mr Varadkar revealed publicly during the referendum campaign that he was gay.

The eyes of the world have been trained on Ireland with the story featuring prominently in international media throughout the weekend. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the referendum turnout showed the “palpable movement” of people wanting to be involved.

He particularly noted how young people had travelled around the country to “to put a single mark” on a ballot paper, demonstrating the value of the issue at hand. Paul Moran of Millward Brown told RTÉ voter turnout had proved vital and that youth had driven the result, if not entirely deciding it. Social media has played a central role, he said.

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