Same-sex marriage is legal in the Republic of Ireland as of November 16, 2015.
According to BBC News, “the law was passed after a referendum in May, when the Irish state became the first in the world to legalize same-sex civil marriage by popular vote.” But it is only now that couples who married outside the of country will be officially recognized by Ireland.
Those in a civil partnership can also marry, so long as they “give at least five day’s notice of their intentions to a civil registration offer.” Partners who are not interested in changing their status will remain unaffected, but “new applications for civil partnerships are no longer being accepted.”
And as for the first same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland? It’s not yet been determined who that couple will be. However, the BBC surmises that “the first newlyweds are likely to be couples who had already applied to register a civil partnership over the coming hours or days, but who now have the option to convert this into a marriage application for the same date.”
The law, referred to as the Marriage Act of 2015, only pertains to civil marriages; that is to say, if a religious organization does not want to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony it will not be forced to do so. The Irish Catholic Church, for example, “campaigned against the legislation, arguing marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”
Nonetheless, this is a happy and historic event. Cheers to the people of Ireland for seeing it through.
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