Ireland – if you achieve this we salute you.
It’s a country that we Aussies look at with fondness. A country that so many of us are linked to by heritage. A country that so many of us associate with joy and laughter.
But now it is a country that we are looking to with awe, for come later tonight Ireland might just achieve what so many Australians wish could be achieved here.
After months of campaigning Irish voters will decide on whether or not gay and lesbian unions should be recognised by the constitution.
If the referendum is passed, Ireland will become the first country in the world to adopt same-sex marriage through a popular vote.
In a country more known for its fierce Catholicism, and one where homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1993, the predicted results of Friday’s same-sex marriage referendum are a delight to read.
Ireland’s voters will be asked to approve this statement: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
If more say “yes” than say “no,” the change to the constitution will give gay and lesbian couples the right to civil marriage, but not to be wed in a church.
Check out social media support for the referendum below.
While in 18 other countries throughout the world same sex marriage was legalized through a change in law, rather than a referendum, Ireland’s iron clad constitution requires a public vote.
The hashtag #RingYourGranny has been going viral with Irish young people ringing their Nan’s asking them to vote yes. Post continues after video.
Happily opinion polls in the run-up to the vote suggest the “yes” vote might just win.
A Sunday Times/Behaviour and Attitudes Poll published Sunday indicted 63% of those surveyed supported the change, with 26% opposed and 11% undecided.
In Ireland the yes vote has seen huge support.
While the “Vote No” campaign focused on what it said was the” welfare of children” the yes campaign counteracted with a massive groundswell of support from children’s organisations.
BeLonG To YES is a coalition of children’s and youth organisations supporting a yes vote including the ISPCC, Barnardos, Foróige, Youth Work Ireland, the Migrant Rights Centre, Headstrong, Yes Equality, the Children’s Rights Alliance, Pavee Point, EPIC and the National Youth Council of Ireland.
Interestingly the No campaign, spearheaded by a number of Catholic lay civil society groups, with the Catholic Church playing a relatively low-key role in the background, has seen their support increase in the last few weeks. The Ipsos poll figures portray yes on 58% (down six points since March) and the nos on 25% (up two points) with the undecideds and those who say they won’t vote on 17% (up five points).
Though some priests have come out in favour of the Yes campaign.
The Irish Times reports that Fr Tim Hazelwood, a Catholic priest from Cork told his congregation he was voting yes.
“I feel that as a country and a church we haven’t treated gay people well and I said that at the end of mass on Sunday when I said I would be voting Yes.”