Historic Victory: Ireland votes Yes on the freedom to marry

Today, May 23, early counts of votes from Friday's referendum on the question of marriage for same-sex couples pointed to an enormous victory for the freedom to marry in Ireland, the first country to vote proactively in favor of extending the freedom to marry to committed same-sex couples. The vote from the predominantly Catholic country, marks a huge step forward and will reverberate around the globe as a major win for loving same-sex couples. 

Voting began yesterday at 7am in Ireland, and continued until 10pm that night. As absentee ballots were not accepted, many supporters abroad traveled home to Ireland to be able to cast their vote for the freedom to marry in their home country. The results were heartwarming and showed just how passionate Irish citizens were about all loving, committed couples being legally recognized as a family.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, applauded the momentous vote today:

With a resounding vote in favor, Ireland now becomes the first country in the world to pass the freedom to marry by popular referendum, as well as the 21st nation and the 10th predominantly Catholic country in which same-sex couples can marry. Our Irish colleagues at Yes Equality ran a magnificent campaign and Freedom to Marry is proud to have shared what we’ve learned in our own campaign here in the US. The global momentum for the freedom to marry reflects and reinforces the progress we are making here in the United States – and we look now to the Supreme Court to bring our country to national resolution, following Ireland’s good example.

Ireland passed a Civil Partnerships Bill in 2010 for same-sex couples, but this is the first time that same-sex couples will be able to have access to the full breadth of the rights and responsibilities marriage has to offer. The referendum for the freedom to marry was announced in 2013, and LGBT groups in Ireland worked tirelessly to explain the importance of the freedom to marry to the Irish public. 

Freedom to Marry congratulates same-sex couples in Ireland on the freedom to marry coming to their country and is proud of our collaboration with the Yes Equality team this year.

Ireland marks the 21st country on five continents where same-sex couples can share in the freedom to marry: Nineteen countries have approved the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide (Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and now Ireland), while two others have regional or court-directed provisions enabling same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry (Mexico and the United States). In Slovenia, Parliament approved a marriage bill in March 2015 but is not final. Learn more here.