In a world first Ireland has become the first country to legalise gay marriage, after more than half of the population voted “yes” in a referendum held over the weekend.
According to The Guardian, 62 percent of the country was in favour of same sex marriage, with 3.2 million people registered to vote. As a traditionally conservative country dominated by the Catholic church, it’s a huge milestone for Ireland who only 22 years ago legalised homosexuality.
“It’s an historic day for Ireland. We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and to do so by popular mandate. So it’s a very proud day I think for Irish people,” cabinet minister Leo Varadkar told RTE.
So, what does this mean for the church going forward? According to Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, a “social revolution” is about to take place. “We have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities,” he told the broadcaster. “We won’t begin again with a sense of renewal, with a sense of denial.
“I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution.”
Thousands gathered around the streets of Dublin Castle to celebrate as the results came in, while the rest of the world took to social media to show their support. “Showing the world how to lead with love #IrelandSaysYes,” tweeted one, while another said: “God voted yes too.”
Ireland’s prime minister Enda Kenny also welcomed the results and said it was a public statement which reflected “who we are.”
“In the privacy of the ballot box, the people made a public statement,” he said. “With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are. We are a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people who say yes to inclusion, yes to generosity, yes to love, yes to gay marriage.”
Now that Ireland has made history and said yes, is it time that the rest of the world followed suit?
Image via Mashable