A total of 62 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of marriage equality, and that was with a 60 percent voter turnout. Irish law requires a three-month notice for civil marriages, so the first same-sex weddings won’t take place until fall and the Parliament must still pass a marriage bill that will become part of the Constitution.
But that necessary wait didn’t dampen the emotion for Morgan, who lives in Dundalk, a city on Ireland’s east coast near the border with Northern Ireland. He is a former Independent (as in no party affiliation) Dundalk town councillor.
“I never stopped crying all day here on Saturday watching TV as the results came in,” he said during an online chat with me today (May 26).
Morgan called it a great weekend for progress in Ireland. “Opinion polls were consistent from the start of the campaign that the ‘yes’ side was going to win,” he said.
The Labour Party, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, pushed for the referendum that was supported by the ruling Fine Gael party and opposition parties. Only six Independent parliamentarians opposed it.
“A lot of people voted for Labour because of this,” Morgan said. He credited young people with affecting the victory. “The amount of young people that turned out to vote and came home from abroad to vote yes had a huge impact on the outcome of the result,” he added.
Surprisingly, a number of priests defied the official position of the Catholic Church and supported equality.
The Irish Times quoted the archbishop of Dublin who the Catholic Church needs a reality check.
“It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said.
Morgan said he wasn’t surprised priests stood on the side of equality. He noted that he lives next to a Redemptorist community, the order where most of the supportive priests came from.
“One in fact used the occasion to come out as gay, I believe,” he said. “A former member of Parliament said that he recognized two priests in the courtyard of Dublin Castle waiting for the result to be announced.”
He said he hopes the vote has a positive effect on gays and lesbians in his country beyond the right of marriage.
“I am hoping this positive result will help gay men who are afraid to come out in the near future,” he said.