Ireland – and the Irish people – did an amazing thing in May 2015. By a popular vote, 62% in favor, Ireland legalized gay marriage! This past Monday the 16th the Marriage Act 2015 went into effect.
The Republic of Ireland legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote! It’s the first in the world to do so as the Marriage Act 2015, passed in a May referendum, became effective Monday. Over 62% of voters in the May referendum voted in favor of the Act.
The country now recognizes the marriages of those couples that were legally wed in other parts of the world. The first couple to legally wed under the new law was lawyer Cormac Gollogly and bank official Richard Dowling.
Mary Claire Heffernan, senior registrar for South Tipperary, oversaw the happy couple’s civil wedding in a waiting room inside a hospital registration center for births, deaths and marriages in Clonmel, southwest Ireland.
The legal protection also extends to those couples in civil partnerships that want to marry. For those in civil partnerships who choose not to marry, nothing changes. Speaking of things civil, the Marriage Act 2015 only covers civil marriage. Churches and other religious organizations that choose not to perform same-sex weddings will not have to do so.
One couple (of many, I’m sure!) is quite happy about the change. Orla Howard and her wife, Dr. Grainne Courtney, married in the United States in May 2013. The couple lives in Dublin with their two adult daughters.
Orla Howard told a reporter from BBC Northern Ireland, “It’s a terrific moment, because our marriage will be the same as any straight couple’s marriage from Monday morning. It will bring all of the rights and protections that marriage brings, from the constitutional point of view, to our family and that’s one of the key things for us.”
I’m impressed with you, Irish Republic! Way to stand up for all of your citizens’ rights!
Éirinn go Brách!