by Frank Schnittger
Sat May 23rd, 2015 at 07:12:21 AM EST
It looks like Ireland has voted to include a specific provision to legalize same sex marriage in its constitution in the first vote of its kind in the world. Early tallies indicate that the YES side is likely to win in what appears to have been with a very high turn-out election.
The referendum was part of a sequence of referendums on social and moral issues over the past few decades in Ireland's own version of the culture wars which have been fought in many parts of the world. The amendment to the constitution was opposed by the usual suspects in the Catholic Church and assorted right wing pressure groups who sought to turn the vote into a vote on surrogacy and children's rights which were in no way effected by the Amendment itself.
The YES side had feared that a low turnout might enable the NO campaign to win the vote because of the greater propensity of older and more traditional people to vote. However, in what appears to have been an unprecedented mobilization of younger, more secular, and more liberal voters a high turnout now looks the likely outcome. Thousands, including members of my own family, flew home from abroad so that they could vote. (Irish Embassies do not make provision for Irish voters to vote when abroad).
The outcome, if confirmed, could result in a seismic change in Irish politics. Some NO campaigners made no secret of their opposition to the measure because they feared that it might lead to an overturn of the 1983 Referendum which outlawed abortion in Ireland.
I will update this story as more vote counts came in. In the meantime, please feel free to use the comments to discuss the issue. For a list of Referendums to change the Irish Constitution, see here.
[Update] Final Result:
YES: 1,201,647 (62.1%)
No: 734,300 (37.9%)
This is the highest turnout in a Referendum since the 1996 Referendum which removed the constitutional ban on Divorce from the Constitution by a margin of less than 0.6%. Only one of Ireland's 43 constituencies (Roscommon-South Leitrim) voted no by a margin of 49 to 51%.