Dublin, May 22: Polling stations in the Republic of Ireland opened their doors on Friday morning to some three million voters who will decide on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in a tion-wide referendum. Citizens will have 15 hours to cast their ballots, and if a majority supports the measure, Ireland will be the first predomintly Catholic tion to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married as a result of popular will, Efe news agency reported.
The vote-count will begin on Saturday morning and first estimates could be out by noon, while the fil result is expected to be announced a few hours later.
Projections have given a comfortable lead to same-sex advocates, although their opponents have gained ground in recent weeks, while a significant percentage of the electorate remain undecided.
On the ballot, the voters must select a simple “yes” or “no” to the proposition tendered by the Irish government coalition between Conservatives and Labour, which would defend the right that “marriage can be contracted according to the law for two people regardless of their sex”.
In contrast, critics, including anti-abortion groups, ultra-conservatives and the Catholic Church, argue that these unions undermine the values of traditiol family, and radically alter the processes of adoption and surrogacy, in addition to eroding the rights of the child. (IANS)