What Ireland’s Gay Marriage Victory Says About Catholic Influence in the Nation May 23, 2015

What Ireland’s Gay Marriage Victory Says About Catholic Influence in the Nation

In Ireland, where 84% of the people consider themselves Catholic, the nation has become the first in the world to vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage.

As much as you hate to see marriage equality subject to popular vote, the demographic trends appear to have finally caught up to the ballot box, at least in one country.

Ireland has become the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, sweeping aside the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in a resounding victory Saturday for the gay rights movement and placing the country at the vanguard of social change.

With ballots from 34 out of the 43 voting areas counted, the vote was almost two to one in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. All but one of the districts that were counted voted yes, and it appeared to be statistically impossible for opposition votes to overcome the ayes.

What will the haters do now…? (Besides fundraise off the impending doom, of course.)

Oh, who cares. For one day, just enjoy the taste of bigot tears.

The result also suggests that Catholicism as an organized religion doesn’t have a very firm grip on its followers in the country. The Irish may say they’re Catholic, but it doesn’t mean they give a damn what the Church wants them to believe. The socially conservative, faith-based Iona Institute conceded defeat in the gay marriage fight early on, with its leader going down in the sort of gracious defeat you’d never see with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League:

To be fair, Ireland still has a long way to go on other issues: Abortion is still illegal in the country (except to save the life of the mother), and they still have a blasphemy law in the books, but the results today may indicate there’s support out there to fix both of those travesties, no matter how many Church leaders stand in the way of progress.

There’s plenty of reason to celebrate right now, though. Not only is gay marriage legal in Ireland, the Catholic Church suffered a major defeat, and there’s hope for even more social change in the future.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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