Ireland is the first country in the world to pass marriage equality through a national referendum, and the 21st country to decide to afford same-sex couples full marriage rights.
“Voters in Ireland had a rare opportunity to make their country and the world more just and more equal — and that’s just what they did,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As these election results prove, momentum for equality reaches around the globe. HRC is proud to join our partners in Ireland in celebrating this historic victory which guarantees that everyone has the same right to marry the person they love. Love can’t wait, not in the United States or in Ireland, and it is clear it won’t wait any longer.”
The referendum asked voters to approve language that updates Ireland’s constitution to state, “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with the law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” Through an unprecedented voter registration campaign and voter mobilisation effort by the Irish LGBT community, including the Yes Equality campaign, voters voted overwhelming for equality.
The fight for marriage equality in Ireland was led by tireless and courageous advocates from across the country, including those in the Yes Equality campaign – which was organised by the Gay and Lesbian Education Network (GLEN), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and Marriage Equality. HRC was proud to support and share our experiences fighting for equality with our Irish counterparts, and earlier this week, HRC President Chad Griffin wrote an op-ed encouraging Irish Americans to reach out to their friends and family to vote in the referendum.
The situation for LGBT people around the world varies widely. As some countries embrace equality, in others, LGBT people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution, and violence.
Ireland joins 20 countries in opening their doors to marriage equality.
But on the other end of the spectrum, anti-LGBT discrimination continues to put lives at real risk. 75 countries currently criminalise same-sex relationships. Even worse, hundreds of transgender individuals have been brutally murdered in
the last year.
Moreover, across the globe, governments from Nigeria to Kazakhstan have fought to silence equality advocates and organisations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and legislation, which is a disturbing trend that creates barriers to advocating for equality and lead to human rights violations.