DUBLIN, Ireland (BP) — Ireland on May 22 became the first country to hold a public vote amending its constitution to allow gay “marriage,” but the change will not force houses of worship to perform the unions. Instead, gay couples will be able to enter in “civil marriage,” a separate institution from but affording all the legal benefits of “religious marriage,” according to the Yes Equality civil group that spearheaded the drive for the constitutional change.
Ireland is the second country this year to approve gay “marriage,” following Finland, and is the 20th country to approve gay “marriage” to date, according to the Pew Research Center. However, Ireland is unique in being the first country to legalize gay “marriage” by popular vote.
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