Words by: Molly Schmidt
Image credit: Joe Caslin
Ireland is predicted to vote “yes” in its gay marriage referendum, in which voters will be taking to the poll tonight.
According to the ABC, polls are predicting a historic win with a suggested two-to-one support for equal marriage.
ABC’s Europe correspondent Mary Gearin is in Dublin today, and says phrases like “live and let live” and “life’s too short” can be heard in the streets from voters who will be supporting same sex marriage.
However the opposition is also making themselves heard with posters for the “No” campaign on every lamppost, every wall, featuring slogans such as “Children Deserve a Mother and Father”.
Former Irish president Mary McAleese says, “A Yes vote costs the rest of us nothing. A No vote costs our gay children everything”. The ex-head of state is described by the BBC as a devout Catholic, and has spoken out about her homosexual son’s battle for acceptance as a gay man in Ireland.
But the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin is of the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and has been quoted by the BBC; “I ask you to reflect on why humans exist as male and female? It is not an accident or a social construct… I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage.”
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Ireland 22 years ago, and in 2010, the government enacted civil partnership legislation, which provided legal recognition for gay couples.
While other countries have passed laws allowing same sex marriage, Ireland is the first to hold a referendum.
Voters will be asked whether they agree with the statement “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.
Same sex couples will have constitutional right to marry if the majority vote yes.