Failure by the yes side to deliver a knockout blow in the marriage equality debate has led to a surge of bets on a no victory, bookmakers have revealed.
Paddy Power has cut the odds from 1/14 for a yes win last weekend to 1/8 now, with the odds on a no victory changing from 7/1 to 9/2.
However, it still expects the reform to pass, and would be looking at a loss of up to €50,000 if it fails.
“There has been a shift in the money in recent days with a fair few bets well above €50 for a no win,” said a spokesperson. “The opinion is that the yes side has failed to deliver the expected knockout blow in the debates. The yes side has seen a lot of bets over €1,000 due to the odds, but at 1/8 the odds are very short and in GAA terms we would see a yes win as likely as Dublin playing the likes of Laois.”
When the bookmaker started taking bets on the likelihood of marriage rights being extended to same-sex couples in September 2012, the odds were closer, with a yes victory having odds of 4/7 and a no triumph 5/4.
When the date of the referendum was announced in February, a yes win was on 1/6 and a no result on 7/2.
Government fears that a shift to the “shy nos” might be taking place in the final week of the campaign saw Enda Kenny again come out strongly for the yes side.
He said a gay member of his extended family had contacted him from the US to express support for the change.
Speaking of his own “journey” from opposition to same-sex marriage to supporting it, Mr Kenny insisted civil partnership did not go far enough as it did not give constitutional protection.
He stressed that the referendum would not impact on adoption laws or planned surrogacy legislation.
Referring to the other referendum question on lowering the age of presidential candidates to 21, Mr Kenny insisted he would not run for the presidency in the future.
While no campaigners continued to express concern that Catholic marriage guidance agency Accord had its funding cut as “punishment” for the Church calling for a no vote, Children’s Minister James Reilly denied the accusation, saying pro-yes groups such as Barnados had also had reductions in aid.
As a growing number of pro-marriage equality TDs refused demands by Leinster House authorities to remove yes badges, Tánaiste Joan Burton said she backed the defiant stance. The Labour leader said she thought the rule banning the wearing of badges and emblems there had “disappeared”.
Meanwhile, anti-marriage equality group Educators for Conscience warned against the consequences of a yes vote. Spokesman Kevin Leavy said: “The reality is that if this referendum passes, gender-neutral ‘marriage’ would be elevated to a new status in the Constitution, and employees of the State would be obliged to protect that new model of marriage. As teachers, our fear is that for example, a teacher who gives preferential treatment to a view of marriage as between a man and woman over a same-sex marriage will be seen to be discriminating.”
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