Today we have a report from On the Spot by our Official Ireland Correspondent, writing about the gay marriage referendum, which just won approval in that Catholic country.
by Grania Spingies
Every once in a while you have a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. Sometimes it’s because of something personal and private, sometimes it’s because you were there when history was made. Either way, if you are lucky it will be a good memory, a day you remember with smiles and happiness. Ireland has had one of those days today. Today Ireland has voted for same-sex marriage with a resounding YES!
Actually, I stand corrected.
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is an Irish Labour Party politician, and Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality.
Ireland has a relatively unique situation in which anything requiring a change to Irish law must be ratified by the electorate in a referendum. Although polls have shown for some time that the majority were in favor of same-sex marriage, there were concerns that the younger generations might not turn up to vote.
As it turns out, those worries were misplaced. Around 50,000 Irish citizens returned to Ireland just to cast their vote yesterday. (There is no absentee voting on referenda.) This is no small number in a country whose total population, including non-citizens, is only 6.4 million. Their stories can be seen on the Twitter hashtag #HomeToVote
And then there was this one, a little note found in a Dublin ballot box.
Although the results are not completely finalised yet, even the No side (whose rhetoric was littered with dishonest diatribes about child safety) has conceded defeat.
God has shown his approval by creating a double rainbow in the sky over the capital.
Those of you who used to be Catholic will have a good old giggle at this.
For those of you who were never Catholic, those are magic tokens that grant invisibility, full restoration and invulnerability on the bearer. Okay, maybe the bit about invisibility isn’t true.
Today was history in the making, and anyone who did participate will look back on this as a day when things got better and the world became a better place, at least in a small corner of it. That it happened in a country where homosexuality was illegal until 1993 and the population is 87% Catholic is no small thing. Sometimes change can happen, and it can happen fast. Today, everybody wins. #MarRef