Tuesday 23 January 2018

Gay couples can now 'live in our shelter and not in our shadow' following #MarRef result - Taoiseach

Yvonne Naughton and Nicole Priebel pictured celebrating the yEs result. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 23/5/15
Yvonne Naughton and Nicole Priebel pictured celebrating the yEs result. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 23/5/15
People react as Ireland voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in a historic referendum REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
The Celebration of the Yes Vote at Tv3's Vincent Browne Special Referendum Results Show from the George Dublin Pictures:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use
Davina Devine and dancers join in theCelebrations of the Yes Vote at Tv3's Vincent Browne Special Referendum Results Show from the George Dublin Pictures:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

TENS of thousands of couples can now "live in our shelter and not in our shadow" after voters delivered a resounding Yes in the Marriage Equality Referendum, according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Kenny said voters have proven that they are "a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people" who care deeply about those who have been marginalised for decades.

Ireland has today made history by becoming the first country in the world to extend marriage to same sex couples following a passionate and emotional referendum campaign.

There were further emotional scenes in the court yard of Dublin Castle where thousands congregated to watch the results unfold on a big screen.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the count centre in Castlebar, Co. Mayo as counting got underway in the marriage referendum. Photo : Keith Heneghan
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the count centre in Castlebar, Co. Mayo as counting got underway in the marriage referendum. Photo : Keith Heneghan
Supporters for same-sex marriage raise a cheer at Dublin Castle as they wait for the result of the referendum on May 23, 2015. Yes voters were basking in the sunshine today as they gathered to celebrate an expected victory in Ireland's referendum on whether to approve same-sex marriage. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Celebrations at Tv3's Vincent Browne Special Referendum Results Show from the George Dublin Pictures:Brian McEvoy
Supporters for same-sex marriage raise a cheer at Dublin Castle as they wait for the result of the referendum on May 23, 2015. Yes voters were basking in the sunshine today as they gathered to celebrate an expected victory in Ireland's referendum on whether to approve same-sex marriage. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
'Panti Bliss' aka Rory O'Neill with John Lyons TD at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, after Zappone proposed live on TV as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage
Mary Lou McDonald ,Vincent Browne and Micheal Martin at Tv3's Vincent Browne Special Referendum Results Show from the George Dublin Pictures:Brian McEvoy

Read more here: Ireland overwhelmingly says Yes 

Couples and families embraced and cheered when returning officer Riona Ni Fhlanghaile revealed that the vote was carried, 62pc Yes and 38pc No.

Reacting to the results this evening, both the Taoiseach and Tanaiste said Ireland has proven that it is a changed country.

"I know that for tens of thousands of couples and their families, the past 24 hours have been almost like a vigil at the end of a long journey," Mr Kenny said.

Supporters for same-sex marriage raise a cheer at Dublin Castle as they wait for the result of the referendum on May 23, 2015. Yes voters were basking in the sunshine today as they gathered to celebrate an expected victory in Ireland's referendum on whether to approve same-sex marriage.
AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Supporters for same-sex marriage raise a cheer at Dublin Castle as they wait for the result of the referendum on May 23, 2015. Yes voters were basking in the sunshine today as they gathered to celebrate an expected victory in Ireland's referendum on whether to approve same-sex marriage. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
A man blows bubbles as supporters for same-sex marriage wait for the result of the referendum at Dublin Castle on May 23, 2015 in Dublin. Ireland looked set today to become the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in the streets of Dublin in anticipation of the spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Supporters for same-sex marriage wait for the result of the referendum at Dublin Castle on May 23, 2015 in Dublin. Ireland looked set today to become the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in the streets of Dublin in anticipation of the spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 23: Drag queen artist and Yes campaign activist, Panti Bliss is interviewed bare foot by news crews as thousands gather in Dublin Castle square awaiting the referendum vote outcome on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Senator Katherine Zappone (left) with Ann Louise Gilligan at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, after Zappone proposed live on TV as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Supporters for same-sex marriage hold an inflatable Yes sign as they wait for the announcement on the referendum in Dublin castle on May 23, 2015. Ireland appeared to have voted to allow gay marriage today in a historic referendum which would see the historically Catholic country become the world's first to make the change after a popular vote. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

"Would their fragile and deeply personal hopes be realised? Would a majority of people in this, our Republic, stand with them and stand up for them so that they can live in our shelter and not in our shadow? That having come out for us, that we could then come out for them, and do it with a solitary syllable, a mark with an 'X'. Today they have their answer."

Mr Kenny appealed to the over one million voters who supported the Yes campaign to continue their participation in future elections.

"For many of you, this was your first engagement in the political process. And I would urge you to continue your participation and your interest because your country needs that participation in our democratic process," Mr Kenny said.

"In the privacy in the ballot box, the people made a public statement. With today's vote, we have disclosed who we are - a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people," he added.

Meanwhile, Tanaiste Joan Burton said the result is a clear message to emigrants that they can come home and get married in Ireland.

The Labour Party leader said the result is a " magical, moving moment, when the world’s beating heart is in Ireland."

"Not so long ago, to be gay in this country was to risk being criminalised.

And I want to acknowledge those many gay and lesbiancitizens who are still afraid of telling their own story," Ms Burton said.

"Still fearful of the prejudice and abuse, and above all the hurt that might follow.

"I hope that today your fears will begin to fade, and that you can finally feel accepted – and equal – in your own country, as the votes of hundreds of thousands of your fellow citizens have affirmed."

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