We Won a Thing: Ireland Overwhelmingly Votes Yes On Same-Sex Marriage

Feature photo via The Telegraph’s Twitter

Yesterday, Ireland held a referendum on the question of marriage equality, in which Irish citizens were asked whether or not they agreed with the statement: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” Voters flocked to the polls in droves to vote Yes, almost 60,000 of them expatriates.

This very morning, the votes were counted and an overwhelming majority — about 62 percent! — voted in favor of same-sex marriage, which means Ireland will become the 20th country to legalize gay marriage at a national level, and the first to do so by popular vote. An official announcement is expected later this afternoon.

It is an enormous victory! Or, as Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, Irish Minister of State for Equality, New Communities, Culture & National Drugs Strategy, put it:

The Yes vote happened just 22 years after Ireland became one of the last countries to decriminalize homosexuality, and at at time when many people believed the Roman Catholic Church’s broad, longstanding influence in the country would prevent it. The conversation this morning feels globally victorious. Ireland’s Yes was so forcefully pro-gay that politicians and activists in other countries are vowing to redouble their efforts to make same-sex marriage a reality in their homes.

According to The Guardian, convener of Australian Marriage Equality Rodney Croome believes Australian politicians will be embarrassed that they are falling so far behind in the world of social progress: “If there was ever any doubt that marriage equality was inevitable in Australia, the Irish vote has removed it. The questions is not if, but when.”

Way to show us all how it’s done, you Irish heroes! (All eyes are on you now, Supreme Court of the United States.)

Edit: The earliest version of this post cited the real-time estimate that 75 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of marriage equality. Now that the results are in, the post has been updated to reflect that 62% of all votes were Yes votes. 

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 838 articles for us.

40 Comments

  1. I’m so proud of my country!!! We are emerging from years of British colonial oppression and Catholic suffocation to finally embrace and love all of our people!! Oh my god this is Amazing!!! I’m so happy (cry happy) and proud. My marriage is now recognised in the land I was born in. This is real life. This is bliss.

  2. This really means a lot to me, even though I’m not Irish. In the states I always felt like gay ‘acceptance’ was superficial; it had more to do with liberal progressive people being protective of their reputation as open-minded, rather than how they really think and feel about gays. But 75% of the popular vote, 75% … could only have happened with real progress, not superficial political correctness, especially in such a Catholic country. It just really feels great; I’m so happy and so moved. Thank you Ireland. <3

    • Yeah, I relate to this. I was so happy when my state of IL legalized marriage equality, but there’s something about seeing all the Irish emigrants going home just to vote yes, and something about this landslide majority (even if it’s 62% and not 75%) that feels even more amazing. Amazingly affirming and supporting.

  3. I may have just sung the Irish Rugby National Anthem (I know that the referendum was only in the Republic but I only know the rugby national anthem and the shoulder to shoulder bit seemed appropriate) at my gf… I’m only a tiny bit Irish but I’m just so happy that this has happened. Congratulations Ireland!

  4. This makes me so happy!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY!!!!
    I had my doubts – Catholic Church and all – but this gives me so much hope for Croatia… not that we’ll see that kind of victory in the next decade. But in my lifetime – maybe.
    YES!!! <3 <3 <3

    • It’s going to take one hell of a lot. It’s being turned into a Nationalist/Unionist issue and the DUP are going to make life a misery for as long as they’re in power.

  5. The result wasn’t 75%, it was 62.1% in favor! 75% refers to the result which was achieved in the Dublin South constituency. 62.1% is still being considered a landslide and I’m partying it up tonight!! Erin go Bragh!!!

  6. Yay. Good job Ireland. I’ve been reading and crying over #hometovote and other coverage for the past few days. I’m not even a little Irish, but this victory just feels amazing.

  7. Maith thu!
    Congraaaaaaatulations Ireland!!!!
    Everyone in Ireland – party like tonight and the future is yours, because it is!!!
    Everyone outside of Ireland – anyone who can, let’s go on holiday there, have a fabulous time, enjoy the craic and boost the economy (since you lovely Irish people are boosting all of our rights)!!!

  8. This is so great. SO great. I have dual Irish-Australian citizenship (living in Oz though), thrilled for my Irish family and friends and so happy that at least my second home recognises me as an equal citizen!

    Australia continues to be an embarrassment in too many ways though, I’m not holding my breath on change here.

  9. So thrilled for Ireland. Time to catch up Australia. Last developed English speaking country without marriage equality.

    Marriage equality achieved in a traditionally Catholic country by popular vote. One would think, “Hey that would work in Australia, an athiest country.” NOPE says Tony. No one tells us what to do. You only need look to Tony’s response to UN reports that Australia is committing human rights abuse against those that we hold in detention centers. And we are! But Tony Abbott chortles and says, “Thanks for your lame opinions world wide respected body, but no, you’re wrong.”

    Not holding my breath though. We’re got no chance while a foolish hoon is in the drivers seat of this country.

  10. I went down to the local Irish pub where most the staff are Irish to share the joy and they were elated. So many happy tears.

    My GF asked about where the No vote won and I googled it only to find someone had been having fun with wikipedia.

    Which I thought was funny, because exaggeration is pretty much my favorite comedy style. Obviously I am not sharing this in any seriousness since the No vote won by a small margin and 17,000+ people there voted Yes (and those who voted No aren’t evil, just wrong :p ).

    It was corrected by the time I took the screen shot and hit refresh.

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