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BREAKING NEWS: It's official - Irish voters legalize same-sex marriage, making it the 20th country in the world to legalize marriage #equality and the first one to do so by a popular vote.

According to the Guardian, "with 39 constituencies having now declared, the Yes vote is 62.3% and No 37.7%. The number of Yes votes is 1,128,209, with 682,932 votes for No. The three constituencies still to declare are Cork North West, Cork South West and Cork East."

The BBC reports that "Irish citizens who are registered were allowed to vote, but there was no postal voting. Many people returned to Ireland to cast their votes ...They were asked whether they agreed with the statement: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

In fact, NBC News says that thousands returned by aircraft or ferry to vote, with many using the #HomeToVote hashtag, and that "yes" majorities were being reported even in conservative rural districts.

The Guardian reports that "Ireland's justice and equality minister, Aodhan O'Riordain, says he is proud to be Irish ...[and] doesn't think Ireland will ever to go back to the way things were, 'We've made a resounding statement about what we believe in.' "

Sonke Gender Justice joins equality advocates all over the world in celebrating this important step in the right direction to give homosexual people the same rights as heterosexual ones, and to do away with laws that oppress and discriminate. Now let's see the rest of the world follow suit! A luta continua! Equality for All !

[Photo of YES supporters via The Guardian : Yes supporters gather in Dublin Castle square - Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images]

[CP] #gaymarriage (2 photos)
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By all current media accounts, Ireland seems on path to VOTE yes today to #equality in marriage as the #samesex marriage referendum looks to win an overwhelming YES majority.

A leading NO campaigner has already conceded defeat on twitter and to the media.

Despite the fact that this referendum has been framed as a Church versus State issue, Christian Today reports that a number of priests have publicly stated their support of same-sex marriage:
http://christiantoday.com/article/…

Joe Carlin writes in the Independent: "Among the dreams and aspirations I’ve set for myself, finding someone to share my life with is part of this vision. I see this vote in Ireland as being the opportunity of providing me and countless others with this dream. Is it a matter of religion? No. Is it fundamentally about parenting? No. It’s just about love. Strip away the paperwork and religion and all we are left with is two people committing to a life together."
[http://independent.co.uk/voices/comment/…]

This is a historic moment in a country where 84% identify as Roman Catholic and nearly 92% of the population identify as belonging to a religion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland

This is also historic because according to ABC News, a YES vote means that Ireland is the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a referendum process:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/historical-vote-ireland-gay-marriage/story?id=31231718

Ireland will be the 20th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. According to Pew, the countries that allow same-sex marriage include:
Argentina (2010) England / Wales (2013) The Netherlands (2000) South Africa (2006) Belgium (2003) Finland (2015) New Zealand (2013) Spain (2005) Brazil (2013) France (2013) Norway (2009) Sweden (2009) Canada (2005) Iceland (2010) Portugal (2010) Uruguay (2013) Denmark (2012) Luxembourg (2014) and Scotland (2014)

and the countries where same-sex marriage is legal in some jurisdictions include:
Mexico (2009) and the United States (2003).

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/19/gay-marriage-around-the-world-2013/

We congratulate the people of #Ireland for this important and ethical step in promoting human rights and equality, and hope that the rest of the world's countries will soon follow suit.

By Czerina Patel

#gaymarriage #equalrights GLAAD Triangle Project Coalition of African Lesbians Open Society Foundations Iranti-Org Free gender khayelitsha United Nations United Nations Human Rights Barack Obama The White House UN Women Human Rights Watch
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