Michael Barron, founding director of BeLonGTo, said this generation was a one with “open, kind hearts, a generosity of spirit and a great capacity to love”.
“We’ve changed forever what it means to grow up LGBT in Ireland,” said Mr Barron. “The Irish people, via the ballot box, have given each and every gay child and young person in Ireland — and across the world — a strong and powerful message that they are loved, they are cared for, and don’t need to change who they are.”
Brian Sheehan, co-director of Yes Equality, said: “Witnessing young people return home to Ireland to their communities has been truly humbling. The marriage equality movement has ignited the imagination of a people to have an active part in the Ireland they want to live in and be proud of.”
Senator David Norris, one of the key figures in having homosexuality decriminalised in the 1990s, said it was a wonderful result.
“I believe that, by the end of today, gay people will be equal in this country,” said Mr Norris.
“I think it’s wonderful. It’s a little bit late for me. As I said the other day, I’ve spent so much time pushing the boat out that I forgot to jump on and now it’s out beyond the harbour on the high seas, but it’s very nice to look at.”
British rights campaigner Peter Tatchell added his voice to celebrations.
“The Irish people have voted for love and equality. Oscar Wilde would be so proud,” he said. “This vote will give hope to millions of same-sex couples around the world who want to marry the person they love.
“Equal marriage is an unstoppable global trend. It’s being advocated by politicians in dozens of parliaments all over the world. The Irish vote is proof that love can triumph over prejudice and discrimination.”
Grainia Long, chief executive of the ISPCC Childline, said: “The ISPCC is proud to have joined 14 other leading youth and children’s organisations to form a strong coalition called BeLonG To YES. On behalf of all those children and young people who contact Childline for support, thank you.”
Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “This is a new Ireland where all children are cherished equally. The vote is a signal to LGBT children that they matter, they’re valued and that Ireland cares.”
Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos, said: “This vote is a vindication of values, of leadership, of honesty and decency. Ireland should be proud of leading the whole world.”
Mary Cunnigham, director of the National Youth Council of Ireland, said: “Over, the past few months we’ve seen over 100,000 people — primarily young people, students, and first time voters – registering and getting ready to use their voices for good — for love. They came from all over the world to be here today, and the future of Ireland is brighter and better because of them.”
Jennifer Gargan, director of Epic (Empowering People in Care), said: “Epic is delighted that the people of Ireland have voted yes to marriage equality. This is truly a historic moment. The result of the referendum will have a positive impact on the present and future generations of our children. Ireland, as a nation today has voted to embrace and embed a culture that will vindicate everyone’s right to marriage.”