Ireland becomes first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote

3.2 Million Votes in favor of Same Sex Marriage in Ireland

Irish voters headed to the polls in droves on Saturday, voting to approve a same-sex marriage referendum in one of the country’s highest turnouts in decades. Over 3.2 million Irish citizens cast their ballots in favor of the measure, with thousands of ecstatic locals cramming into the courtyard of Dublin Castle to watch the results in real-time. Same-sex couples and swaths of LGBT activists expressed heavy emotions as the votes rolled in.

“A lot of my family have voted no in this campaign so at a personal level it has been very traumatic,” 54-year-old administrator Jean Webster told Reuters on Saturday. Webster, who came out eight years ago after separating from her husband, told the news agency that it was the happiest day of her life after the births of her children. “I needed to wake up this morning to have thousands of people affirm my rights when certain people in my family weren’t.”
3.2 Million Votes in favor of Same Sex Marriage in Ireland

Health Minister Leo Varadkar, the country’s first openly gay cabinet official, told The Irish Times that the campaign to approve the measure had become something of a “social revolution.”

“I wanted to be an equal citizen in my own country and today I am,” said Varadkar. “We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and to do so by popular mandate, so it’s a very proud day I think for Irish people.”

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