Marriage equality referendum decision ratified

Ireland’s historic marriage equality referendum decision has been officially ratified by President Michael D Higgins, bringing legislation allowing same sex marriages one step closer to finalisation.

An Áras an Uachtaráin spokesperson confirmed the long-awaited move at the weekend after a number of legal challenge attempts by citizens to prevent the referendum result from being implemented.

On May 22, Ireland voted by 62%-38% in favour of allowing people of the same sex to marry each other in a landslide decision which gained worldwide attention.

However, before marriages could be allowed, the result still had to be signed off on by President Higgins before a specific bill implementing the necessary changes is introduced.

Speaking after the president agreed to the changes on Saturday evening, Justice and Equality Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the required legislation will now be put before the Dáil when it returns next month, at which point same sex marriages will be allowed.

“In the coming weeks, we will see the new Marriage Bill 2015 introduced to make the changes in the law and to make it a reality that in Ireland in 2015, marriages will be possible between people without distinction as to their sex,” the senior cabinet member explained.

It is expected that same sex couples will be able to marry in Ireland before the end of the year, with a large number of people already planning their weddings in response to the referendum result last May.

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