Tom Daley
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Famous and Powerful Express Joy for Irish Marriage Vote

Famous and Powerful Express Joy for Irish Marriage Vote

“We’ve changed forever what it means to grow up LGBT in Ireland," Michael Barron, founding director of BeLonGTo, which led the Yes campaign to victory, told the Irish Independent newspaper regarding the landslide by which the Yes vote won Ireland's referendum on same-sex marriage.

With at least 60 percent of the vote counted as of this writing, Ireland has become the world's first country to vote in marriage equality by popular referendum, according to the Irish Times.

“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 Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement to the media. “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 historic vote was especially moving to older LGBT Irish people, who have now lived to see stunning change.

“Throughout my youth, adolescence and young adulthood, it was a criminal offense to be gay,” David Norris, a 71-year-old member of the Irish Senate and longtime activist told The New York Times, noting that in his youth, life for gay people was "total isolation."

“There was silence on the subject,” Norris told the Times. “It wasn’t mentioned in the newspapers, it wasn’t mentioned in the broadcast media. Then there was a fear of criminal prosecution, of being involuntarily placed in a lunatic asylum, losing your job, being socially destroyed. It was a terrible situation.”

The legendary, sometimes controversial president of political party, Sinn Fein also spoke to the New York Times. Gerry Adams framed the victory as only an Irishman could, telling the Times, “There are two Irelands, the elite Ireland and the hidden Ireland. And today the hidden Ireland spoke.”

Meanwhile, the head of the antigay "No" campaign, David Quinn conceded via Twitter with the simple tweet, "Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done."

Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association had an enthusiastic, however nuanced reply to the news from Dublin, where he and ILGA-Europe’s executive board are currently gathered.

“On behalf of the European LGBTI movement, we sincerely congratulate Ireland, its politicians, human rights activists and the Irish people for taking such an important step towards a society where all people can enjoy the benefits and protections of the institution of marriage regardless of their gender and sexual orientation," Côrte-Real said in a statement on the group's website. "Our board, who is meeting in Dublin on this historic day, is delighted to witness the referendum result first hand. Although it is our firm stand that human rights issues should not be put to a referendum, the specificities of the Irish system required this vote and we are very happy to see that human rights have indeed prevailed as a result of this process.”

Out Irish actor, Ian McKellen went all out with all caps in his tweet about the new, more equal Ireland, adding a challenge aimed directly northward: "CONGRATULATIONS  to the Republic on saying yes to same-gender marriage! Now what about Northern Ireland?

Fellow actor and Irishman, Dermot O'Leary tweeted, "Classy Mother Erin.  X"

Even British tycoon, Richard Branson took to Twitter to congratulate the "Yes" campaign on its win, saying "Great to see the people of Ireland voting to live in a country where everybody is treated equally #MarRef #YesEquality"

With a recent move in its legislature to "protect" pastors from same-sex marriage, Texas may be about as far from Ireland as you can get today. But that didn't stop Houston's out lesbian mayor Annise Parker to chime in with her joy about the vote. She tweeted, "Proud of Ireland today! Strong vote for equality!-A"

 

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