The returning officer, Ríona Ní Fhlanghaile, has declared that the 26-County state has voted in the Referedum IN FAVOUR OF INSERTING A CLAUSE IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT PERMITS COUPLES OF EITHER GENDER TO MARRY by 1,201,607 votes to 734,300. That’s 62.1% yes to 37.9% no. The total turnout was 60.5% which is higher than in some other Irish referenda. The “Yes” vote exceeded the “No” in every county in the state except in Roscommon, where the vote was close. The “Yes” vote was significantly higher in all other counties and generally across rural and urban areas too.
The vote in favour is not surprising given that all the main political parties, as well as Sinn Fein and Left parties were all advocating a “Yes” vote. However, on its own that does not explain the wide gap between the two positions and the high turnout, especially in the face of the Irish Catholic Church hierarchy’s position against legalisation of same-sex marriage. It is hard not to see this as to some extent a conscious decision to oppose or ignore the Church’s position and to take a stand in favour of equality and civil rights.