Ireland legalises gay marriage in historic referendum
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Ireland legalises gay marriage in historic referendum

IRELAND has officially become the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage by popular vote.

The yes campaign emerged victorious with almost 62 per cent of voters on the winning side, as the counting wound down this evening after yesterday's landmark referendum.

From today, gay men and women in Ireland will be able to enjoy the full and equal benefits of marriage, currently enjoyed by heterosexual couples across the state.

Yesterday saw the state's biggest turnout ever for a referendum. With a total poll of 1,949,725 total poll, 1,201,607 voted yes versus 734,300 against - meaning the majority won by 467,307.

Though the majority of voters voted yes, some constituencies had a tight race to the finish – and the no vote won in just one constituency - Roscommon-Leitrim South.

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Civil partnerships were legalised in Ireland in 2010 and, with today's result, Ireland becomes the 19th country in the world to introduce full marriage equality regardless of gender.

Thousands gathered at Dublin Castle to await the official announcement this evening, with three Cork constituencies the last to confirm their yes vote majorities.

The announcement was made shortly before 7pm this evening.