Ireland has voted resoundingly to legalize gay marriage in the world’s first national vote on the issue, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday even as official ballot counting continued.
“We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. So it’s a very proud day to be Irish,” said Leo Varadkar, a Cabinet minister who came out as gay at the start of a government-led effort to amend Ireland’s conservative Catholic constitution.
Varadkar, who personally watched the votes being tabulated at the County Dublin ballot center, said the Irish capital looks to have voted around 70 percent in favor of gay marriage, while most districts outside the capital also were reporting strong “yes” leads. He said not a single district yet had reported a “no” majority. Official results come later Saturday.
Laws punishing people for being gay still exist in 76 countries, including Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, and Singapore. Punishments in these countries range from forced psychiatric treatment and lifelong prison sentences to hard labor and death by public stonings.
While Russia has not explicitly banned homosexual acts, the country adopted repressive laws prohibiting any kind of “gay propaganda” in 2013.
Here are all the places where it is still illegal to be gay ( afull list can be found here):