Update at 2:55 p.m.: The vote has been counted and 62.1 percent cast their ballots in favour of equality with 60.5 percent of 3.2 million eligible voters participating in Friday’s referendum. In Dublin, as many as 73 percent of voters in certain areas cast their ballot to support marriage equality, according to the Irish Times.
Original post: Ireland looks on-track to become the first country to legalize marriage for same-sex couples via a popular vote. Although full results are not in, all signs point to voters backing the referendum by a wide margin in the traditionally Catholic country. The only question now is how big that victory will actually be as both government ministers and prominent anti-equality campaigners have both acknowledged the referendum will pass, reports the BBC. Analysts are predicting the “yes” vote will likely receive more than 60 percent support, notes the Associated Press. Some are predicting support in Dublin will reach as high as 75 percent.
The news that equality would win out was widely expected, particularly because of the number of people who went to cast a ballot. Irish national broadcaster RTE said on Friday that it appeared to be one of the highest ever turnouts for a referendum in the country, according to Reuters.
Government officials did not wait for the official results to celebrate the news. Minister for Health Leao Varadkar, who came out as the country’s first gay minister earlier this year, said the vote turns Ireland into a “beacon of light” for the world, reports the Irish Times. Minister for Equality Aodhan O Riordain said on Twitter: “I’m calling it. Key boxes opened. It’s a yes. And a landslide across Dublin. And I’m so proud to be Irish today.”