Yesterday, the Republic of Ireland held a referendum to vote on whether the country should allow same-sex marriage. It is the first time that a country has put the question of legalizing same-sex marriage to a popular vote, and early results indicate that the Irish people have overwhelmingly said ‘yes’.

This means that a marriage between two people of the same sex will have exactly the same status as a traditional marriage in Ireland, with the couple entitled to be called a family and gaining several legal protections. Although civil partnerships for gay couples have been legal in the country since 2010, campaigners have long argued for complete equality.

Reports state that around 75% of the votes that have been counted are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, with the turnout for the vote being exceptionally high compared to other similar referendums.

The referendum came about because of the constitution for the country that states that only a popular vote can officially amend it. Once the official results of the referendum are announced, Ireland will become just the twentieth country to have made same-sex marriage legal.

Topics: news , gay marriage , Irish