DUBLIN (AP) – Prime Minister Enda Kenny has appealed to Ireland’s voters to support the legalization of gay marriage in a referendum that pits the power of the Catholic Church against his secular-minded government.
Speaking May 21, the day before the nationwide vote, Kenny says Ireland could “create history” by becoming the first nation on earth to cast a popular vote for gay marriage. Most polls suggest the “yes” campaign should win, but government officials say the result could be close.
Kenny says approval of his government’s proposed constitutional amendment would “obliterate, publicly, the remaining barriers of prejudice and the irrational fear of the ‘them’ and ‘us’.”
Catholic leaders are urging rejection of gay marriage, arguing its legalization could produce surprise repercussions in Irish courts that could undermine traditional marriages.