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Marriage Equality Signed Into Law in Ireland!

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Six months after Ireland became the first nation to recognize marriage equality by popular vote, same-sex couples will finally be able to marry after the legislation was signed into law by the minister of justice and the deputy prime minister Nov. 11, BBC reports

Decades in the Making

The fight for the freedom to marry in Ireland began more than 20 years ago, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Kiernan Rose, chair of the Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, a civil rights organization for the country’s gay, lesbian and bisexual community, said the legislation represents the end of a battle that began in 1993, when being gay was decriminalized. 

“It is a truly joyful and historic moment, not just for lesbian and gay people, their families and friends, but for all Irish people,” Rose said.

Easy Referendum Win

Earlier this year, Ireland made history by recognizing marriage equality through the voices of the people. The country’s referendum for the law was overwhelmingly supported by Irish citizens with a 62.1 percent “yes” vote and 37.9 percent “no,” according to BBC. The vote was highly symbolic in the nation where civil unions between same-sex partners were recognized in 2010. According to the news network, Irish people living abroad returned home to be sure they cast their historic ballots in the referendum. 

“This is really Ireland speaking with one voice in favor of equality,” Minister of Health Leo Varadkar, the nation’s first out minister, told BBC in May

Growing Support for Marriage Equality Worldwide

Ireland becomes one of 14 European nations that recognize marriage equality, according to data from Pew Research Center‘s analysis of “Gay Marriage Around the World.” In chronological order, The Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Sweden (2009), Norway (2009), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), France (2013), England and Wales (2013), Scotland (2014), Luxembourg (2014) and Finland (2015) all realized full marriage equality. 

Outside of Europe, 22 nations legally support marriage equality, including the United States, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and a few South American nations, like Brazil and Argentina. 

The Road Ahead

Couples will be able to obtain marriage license beginning Nov. 16. Same-sex couples previously married abroad will automatically be recognized as married couples as well. 

Although I've spent the last decade riffing on everything from suburban politics to race in media, documenting love stories as content manager of GayWeddings.com definitely takes the cake. A proud alumna of Howard University's journalism program, I've written for Parents.com, The Huffington Post, xoJane and Essence magazine. When I'm not writing, I'm debating the merits of Drake, obsessing over frozen yogurt or plotting my next international adventure. I want to feature you on GayWeddings.com! Always feel free to drop me a line at community [at] gayweddings.com to share your engagement, wedding and love stories.