Ireland overwhelmingly votes to legalize gay marriage

DUBLIN (AP) – Leaders on both sides of Ireland’s gay marriage campaign say advocates of legalization have won a resounding victory with the ballot count still underway.

Senior figures from the “no” campaign, who sought to prevent Ireland’s constitution from being amended to permit gay marriage, say the only question Saturday is how large the “yes” side’s margin of victory will be from Friday’s vote.

An Irish Cabinet minister, Leo Varadkar, who came out as gay at the start of the government’s campaign, says Dublin looks to have voted about 70 percent in favor of gay marriage, while most districts outside the capital also were reporting strong “yes” leads. Official results come later Saturday.

Varadkar said: “We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. It’s a very proud day to be Irish.”

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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