Early reports suggest that the Republic of Ireland has voted to legalise same-sex marriage, in a historic referendum.

The country’s 3.2m adults were asked in a referendum whether they agreed with the statement: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

If a yes vote is recorded, Ireland will be the first country to approve gay marriage by popular vote.

Counting started at 09:00 BST on Saturday morning, and the result was expected to be announced at around 16:00, but an “unusually high” voter turnout has meant that the final announcement of results has been delayed.

More than 60% of the electorate turned out to vote in Dublin, Limerick and Waterford, with Cork, Carlow, Kilkenny, Donegal, Tipperary, Kerry and Galway recording over 50% turnout.

Government ministers have said that they believe it will pass, and a number of major “no” campaigners have already conceded defeat.

The vote comes 22 years after Ireland decriminalised homosexual acts in 1993 after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the criminalisation of male homosexuality violated Article 8 of the Convention, which guarantees the right to respect for private and family life.


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