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Friday 9 December 2016

Ireland's historic Yes vote in marriage referendum

'Panti Bliss' aka Rory O'Neill with John Lyons TD at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, after Zappone proposed live on TV as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage
'Panti Bliss' aka Rory O'Neill with John Lyons TD at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, after Zappone proposed live on TV as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage

Ireland's historic vote to enshrine gay marriage in the constitution was heralded as a new era with tears and joy.

Some of the most high profile campaigners and figureheads of the equal rights campaign were quick to share their thoughts as victory was declared from early on Saturday.

READ MORE: Huge turnout in Dublin as referendum D-Day arrives

Here are some of the reactions.

:: Leo Varadkar, the country's first openly gay minister, said: "Something has been awakened in the Irish people ... it was not just a referendum it was more like a social revolution."

:: Rory O'Neill, drag queen and rights campaigner AKA Pantibliss, was preparing a double celebration with the Eurovision final also taking place and said: "This is the epitome of a grassroots campaign that started 40 years ago when a tiny group stood up and said they had nothing to be afraid of."

:: Senator David Norris, who drove the decriminalisation of homosexuality from the 1970s to 1993, said: "It's wonderful. It's a little bit late for me ... 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."

:: Senator Katherine Zappone, who unsuccessfully fought years of court battles to have her marriage in Canada recognised in Ireland and proposed on live television as the results became known, said: "I'm feeling emotional from the top all the way down to my toes."

Her wife Anne Louise Gilligan added: "We have created a change, all of us. That's the wonderful thing about the referendum, all of us together have created this change."

:: Ireland's equality minister Aodhan O Riordain couldn't compose himself when he took to Twitter: "Ireland hasn't just said "Yes" ... Ireland has said: F*** YEAAHHHH"

:: Pat Carey, a former government minister who came out as gay earlier this year aged 68, welled up saying: "It's down to the brave, ordinary people of Ireland who took their courage in their hands."

:: Eamon Gilmore, former Labour Party leader who pushed the coalition government to hold a referendum, said: "I think it is a very powerful statement by Ireland to the rest of the world."

Colm O'Gorman, director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "Ultimately it succeeded because the Irish people spoke from a place of decency and generosity."

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: "I think really, the church needs to do a reality check."

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