Voters in the Republic of Ireland will take part in a historic vote next week allowing the public to decide if same sex marriage can be allowed in a traditionally Catholic country, Neil Markey writes. The referendum has seen a bitter battle between religious conservative organisations and a younger generation, who worry about the nation’s perception globally if it fails to pass. If the referendum is passed married same-sex couples will be recognised as a family and entitled to the same Constitutional protection as opposite sex couples. The vote comes almost twenty two years after homosexuality was decriminalised in the country and more than four years after a Civil Partnership Bill came into effect.
Debates have taken place across Ireland for the past year and the vote has left the Irish State firmly at odds with the Catholic church and groups espousing traditional values.
Polls have placed public support around 75 per cent in favour of full marriage equality, however, there is worry among Yes campaigners that the turnout will be significantly lower come voting day – as polls have historically overstated support in past referenda.
Demographic differences have come to the fore; more than 80 per cent of younger voters have expressed support, with numbers dropping significantly for over 65s.