The Irish Senate has passed a bill allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, U.K.-based Pink News is reporting.
Titled the "Children and Family Relationships Bill" and containing more than 120 amendments, the measure was the subject of passionate discussions during the course of a week-long debate in the Seanad of the Republic of Ireland.
Ultimately, the vote ended in a 20-2 win for same-sex couples in Ireland who wish to adopt. It also extends adoption rights to cohabitating couples. Irish president Michael D. Higgins is expected to sign the bill into law, according to Pink News.
Passage of the bill is part of a flurry of political activity and pro-equality momentum gathering for more than a year in anticipation of a May 22 public referendum that will ask Irish voters whether they want the country to embrace legal marriage equality. According to recent polls, about 70 percent of voters in Ireland say they plan to vote in favor of the freedom to marry.
As for the adoption legislation, the only two "no" votes came from radically conservative senators, one of whom once told his fellow senators that the money being spent on the marriage equality referendum would be better spent testing gays for HIV.
As election day nears, prominent Irish citizens and equality organizations are encouraging residents to register to vote and turn out to support equality. One particularly memorable campaign came in the form of a satirical ad that poked fun at the "doomsday" predictions of those who think marriage equality will destroy the nation, cheekily titled "Armagayddon." Other ads have aimed for the heartstrings, as did this spot asking young voters to say "yes" to marriage equality.
Late last year, one of Ireland's favorite sons, A-list Hollywood actor Colin Farrell, stepped up his own advocacy on the issue, saying it was "insane" that his gay brother had to leave his home country to marry the man he loved.
"I carry Ireland with me everywhere I go, and I love my country deeply," Farrell recently told an RTE journalist. "This is my coming out of the closet, as it were, publicly and saying that I support this vote with every fibre of my being."