The results announced from Dublin Castle are an overwhelming vote for Marriage Equality, 62% and 37% against.
Over 1.2 million voters backed a Yes vote and only one constituency voted against, with 42 voting in favour.
Ireland made history as the Republic became the first country to put to a referendum a vote on marriage equality.
The final tally: 62.1% Yes (1,201,607 votes) Marriage Equality in Ireland, 37.9% No (734,300 votes).
The referendum was seen as much more than a vote on marriage equality, for many it was a debate about the place of the LGBTI community in Irish society and the country’s acceptance of it.
The ‘Yes’ vote therefor sends a powerful message of inclusion to the hundreds of thousands of Ireland’s LGBTI citizens.
Thousands of campaigners and members of Ireland’s LGBTI community celebrated just outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the referendum count.
The result is seen as an important landmark social and legal change in a country where same-sex acts remained illegal until 1993 and abortion is still illegal except where the mother’s life is in danger, in a rather conservative and overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland.
The Irish constitution will now change by the insertion of a new subsection 4 to article 41 stating “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.
The Marriage Act will now pass in July, and become law between August and September, followed by a three month notice period. The first same-sex couples are likely to be able to get married before Christmas.
Ireland introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 2010, but the institution has fewer fundamental rights protections than marriage and is not protected by the constitution so can be altered or abolished by simple legislation. With marriage equality a constitutional right, LGBTI couples and families will have equal protection.
Openly gay Iritish Minister for Health Leo Varadkar was emotional: “I wanted to be an equal citizen in my own country and today I am,” he told reporters at the Citywest referendum count centre in south west Dublin.
He stated that the vote was a “social revolution in Ireland” with an overwhelming majority backing marriage equality: “That makes us a beacon of equality and liberty to the rest of the world.”
“It’s an historic day for Ireland. 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.”
Colm O’Gorman, LGBTI rights activist and Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, hailed the YES vote and stated: “Today we’ve asserted a country of equals.”
Michael Barron, founding director of BeLonGTo, in response to the landslide victory of the YES side, said: “We’ve changed forever what it means to grow up LGBT in Ireland”
David Quinn, director of the conservative Iona Institute, conceded defeat and congratulated the YES side.
In a statement the Iona institute said: “We would like to congratulate the Yes side on winning such a handsome victory in the marriage referendum.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin called for the Catholic Church to do a ‘reality check': “I think really the church needs to do a reality check right across the board, to look at the areas in which we’re doing well and see have we drifted away completely from young people.”
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Irishman Darren Ennis, who is also a contributor, said: “I hadn’t expected to feel so overwhelmingly emotional about the referendum but it really does show how much social change has occurred on our fair isle considering that homosexuality was only decimalised in 1993.
“I’m very proud to be Irish and happy that the common sense prevailed.”
Steve Blennerhassett, CEO of DADDi, Ireland’s hugely popular bear party, told KaleidoScot: “We’ve made history!
“Today I feel so thankful to be Irish.
“My country has acknowledged that we exist and will support us. I can’t remember ever being this emotional, happy and proud.
“Now I can marry the man I love with all my heart, my soulmate!”
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, took to twitter and con graduated Ireland for the vote.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 23, 2015
I bet there will be a few marriage proposals in the pubs of Dublin tonight. What a lovely thought. Enjoy the celebrations, Ireland.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 23, 2015
Twenty countries, including Scotland, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, England & Wales, Canada, Denmark, Finland (likely to take effect in 2016), France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Uruguay, with several US states legalising marriage equality.
Following the vote, Sinn Féin has called on Northern Ireland’s politicians to allow a referendum on Marriage Equality after the resounding victory in the Republic. Northern Ireland now remains the only region in the area that does not allow same-sex marriage.
Gerry Adams, leader of, Sinn Féin, stated: “I think this is a huge day for equality.
“I also think that given that the government parties were pressing quite rightly for equality in this issue then we need equality in other issues – we need equality in social issues, economic issues we need everything to be equality. So this is a hugely important day for the LGBT community and everybody else.”
Lastly, it seems that even the weather decided, it seems, to come out in favour of Marriage Equality with a lovely double rainbow spotted by tweeps over Dublin as the votes were coming in.