24 May 2015

Ireland hailed as beacon for human rights after yes vote

The historic gay marriage referendum should be held up as an example for the rest of the world, a campaigner has said.

Yes voter parties in Dublin (Getty)

Eamon Gilmore, a former Irish Labour Party leader who campaigned for a referendum on gay marriage, said: “I think we do need to take this result and advance it but to advance it internationally rather than domestically.

“If you look at many parts of the world it is not just gay marriage is not available to gay people it is that homosexual people in many parts of the world are persecuted, are criminalised and really are second-class citizens.”

Watch now: the moment Dublin Castle heard the result

He said the referendum result “gives Ireland an opportunity to take on a role that fits very well with the human rights role that we have always pursued – to become the international advocates, to use the authority of that ballot box on Friday to make the world a better place for the LGBT community”.

Dublin’s gay venues were packed on Saturday night as voters and campaigners partied hard in celebration of the emphatic win, which saw 1.2 million voters back a change to the Irish constitution to allow same-sex marriage.

New laws are expected to be passed by the Dail before the summer recess, but the first marriage ceremonies are not expected until late autumn.

The victory for gay rights campaigners has been hailed around the world.

U2 frontman Bono dedicated the song Pride (In The Name of Love) to the occasion during a concert in Phoenix, Arizona, telling the crowd: “It’s a moment for us to thank the people who bring us peace to our country.

“We have peace in Ireland today … and in fact on this very day we have true equality in Ireland. Millions turned up to vote yesterday to say love is the highest law in the land – love.”

Tourism campaign

Tourism Ireland has launched a wedding-themed marketing campaign called Ireland Says I Do less than 24 hours after the referendum result.

Britain, the US, Canada, the Nordic region, Australia, France, Spain, Italy and Germany are being targeted in a bid to promote Ireland as a wedding and honeymoon destination.

And tourism chiefs are hoping for an explosion of interest in The Outing – the world’s first gay matchmaking festival – which will run in the Clare town of Lisdoonvarna for the third year running this October.

Soul-searching for Catholic Church

Speaking on Sunday, archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Catholic archbishop of Dublin, said the church needed to re-evaluate its connection with young people in particular.

He said: “If you look at what happened yesterday, particularly with regard to the large number of young people voting, then I believe the church has to carry out a reality check about its relationship with young people particularly.

“But it has to be a reality check right across the board, not just about what happened yesterday. The church should be looking at the things it does well and the things that it doesn’t do well.

“But for me one of the biggest challenges is the fact that such a large number of young people who grew up and have gone to Catholic schools, who grew up in the environment in Ireland are actually drifting away from the church.”