The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described as "an historic day in our country" the Cabinet's approval of the wording for the referendum on same-sex marriage.
The Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has published the wording which states: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex".
While ministers signed off on the text this morning, the exact date for the holding of the referendum in May has still to be decided.
Mr Kenny says the people will now have to decide on the issue.
He said: "The Government today actually made a historic decision in approving the wording for the 34th Amendment to the Constitution which will allow for the people to decide on the question of equaltiy of marriage, which will allow for the right of two people to marry irrespective of their sexual orientation."
Minister Fitzgerald said: "The issue is one of equality, Marriage Equality. It is about removing the barriers which deny some couples the chance of marrying and of having relationships that are constitutionally protected.
"The question is whether or not a new category of couples can have an equal right to marrying and to enjoying the protection of marriage afforded by the Constitution.
"Ultimately it is for the people of Ireland to decide. I hope we can have a constructive and respectful debate which will help to inform and engage citizens on this important issue. I would encourage everyone entitled to vote in these referendums to participate fully in our democracy by ensuring that they are registered to vote and to go to the polls in May."