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Ireland may just be about to achieve what so many Australians desire.

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.

Marriage equality.

Ireland looks set to vote yes.

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.

The voting paper.

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.”

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Mrs Brown asks the Irish to vote yes. Post continues after video.

A massive swell of Irish emigrants have been reported to have made the trip back home to vote in the historic referendum.

One man, reports The Mirror “emptied his bank account” to return from Sydney to Dublin.

He told The Mirror “It’s a once in a generational chance,” Mark Govern said, “I felt that if this didn’t pass and I could have come home and contributed in some way, I’d spend the next 30 years regretting it.”

Political support in Ireland is clearly in the yes camp with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny telling TV3’s “Ireland AM” program last week that he would be voting yes.

All political parties in parliament have endorsed the marriage equality proposal, with just five of the 226 members of parliament publicly announcing they will vote against.

And even Google is supporting the referendum.

Google says vote Yes.

Yesterday Australian Independent senator Glenn Lazarus took up the issue saying that Australia should hold a referendum on the issue.

“I think you should take it to a referendum, because unfortunately a lot of politicians are bound by party policy,” he said.

The senator said most Australians would support gay marriage in a referendum.

“If two people love each other, whether they both have penises or vaginas, they should be allowed to be married,” he said.

Celebrities, including Stephen Fry ask the Irish to vote yes. Post continues after video.

Mamamia reported on Wednesday that in Australia same-sex marriage campaigners believe they are four votes short of gaining majority support in the lower house.

Rodney Croome, the national director of Australian Marriage Equality (AME), which has been lobbying MPs to vote in favour told The Guardian if Ireland achieves marriage equality Australia should be ashamed.

“If, as seems likely, Ireland vote for marriage equality then Australia will be the only developed English-speaking country that doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry and that will be a major impetus for reform in this country,” Croome said.

“Many Australians will feel ashamed that same-sex couples can marry in a traditionally conservative country like Ireland but not in Australia. Many Australians will feel ashamed that our international reputation is suffering and will suffer more because we are lagging behind comparable countries.

The result of the Irish vote will be through fairly quickly after the referendum. If the predicted success is achieved then the country Australia often looks to with big brother type fondness could become a role model in how to achieve equality.

As Mary McAleese, a former Irish President with a gay son said, “A Yes vote costs the rest of us nothing. A No vote costs our gay children everything.”

Vote Yes Ireland.

Gay marriage timeline from the BBC.

Years that same-sex marriage approved around the world.

Netherlands (2001)

Belgium (2003)

Canada (2005)

Spain (2005)

South Africa (2006)

Norway (2009)

Sweden (2009)

Argentina (2010)

Iceland (2010)

Portugal (2010)

Denmark (2012)

Brazil (2013)

England & Wales (2013)

France (2013)

New Zealand (2013)

Uruguay (2013)

Luxembourg (2014)

Scotland (2014 )

Countries where same-sex marriage legal in some jurisdictions

United States (2003)

Mexico (2009)

For more:

Australia is just four votes away from recognising all love as equal.

Why we’ll keep fighting for same sex marriage. “Because almost equal isn’t good enough”.

This video may change your views on same sex marriage.

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