A Brief History
On May 22, 2015, voters in Ireland passed a referendum legalizing same sex marriage.
With the passage of the Thirty Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland, the land of Shamrocks and Leprechauns became the first country in the world to legalize same sex (Gay) marriage by a direct vote of the people (referendum), meaning gay people have every right to be as miserable as everyone else! (Kidding!)
The gay marriage referendum passed with a 62.07% for and 37.03 against vote. Turnout for the election was only 60% of registered voters, but that actually compares favorably to the United States voter turnout for the 2016 election, which was only 58%
Currently 23 countries recognize same sex marriage, and Mexico does in some jurisdictions. The Netherlands became the first country to legalize gay marriage back in the year 2000, and the United States joined the club in 2015. In Africa, the only country that recognizes same sex marriage is the Republic of South Africa.
Notable countries that do not recognize gay marriage as legal include China and India, the 2 most populous countries on Earth. Nor does Russia, and neither does any Muslim majority country or for that matter, neither does Israel. France, Ireland, Spain, and 4 South American countries that are all majority Catholic have recognized gay marriage, and Mexico is another Catholic country that at least partially does so.
In the United States, the issue of gay marriage has been hotly debated over the past decade or so, and despite the June 26, 2015 US Supreme Court Ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that mandated all states and territories recognize same sex marriages, many Americans refuse to personally go along with the law of the land, some citing religious reasons, other citing moral reasons, still others just because they think homosexuality is a mental disorder.
Question for students (and subscribers): Regardless of how you personally think, please tell us your opinions on this controversial subject in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Healy, Gráinne and Brian Sheehan. Ireland Says Yes: The Inside Story of How the Vote for Marriage Equality Was Won. Merrion Press, 2015.
You can also watch a video version of this article on YouTube.