Ireland became the 20th country to legalize same-sex marriage on Saturday. Notably, it is the first to embrace marriage equality by national popular vote.
Previous national marriage equality decisions have come through the courts or legislative bodies. (Notably, at the U.S. state level, voters approved marriage equality measures in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State in 2012)
Irish voters passed the initiative by a large majority, with 62% in favor of amending the country’s Constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry and 38% voting against the measure. Gay rights activists consider the vote an important victory in a country that is traditionally heavily Catholic, where homosexuality decriminalized only 22 years ago.
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