Ireland to vote on same-sex marriage, could make history

Ireland could make history this week by becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. 

‘Under the Irish Constitution, the proposal is that any two people should be able to marry in accordance with the law regardless of their gender," Colm O'Gorman, chief executive of Amnesty International Ireland, said on Wednesday's Rundown

According to a recent Irish Times/IPSOS poll, 70% of Irish voters favored same-sex marriage. But even though polls have shown increasing support to the proposal, Friday’s results may or may not mirror these poll numbers. "These polls and referendums in Ireland are very often decided by turnout," O'Gorman said. "We usually don’t get a high turnout."

He added, "The question is: which side would be more motivated to vote? Will it be those who are strongly opposed to the proposal? Or those who feel that this is an issue that is basically centered on the question of equality, fairness, and building our republic based on those kinds of founding principles?"

Other countries in Europe have legalized same-sex marriage through legislation and court decisions, but never through popular vote. But Ireland presents a different case, O'Gorman notes, pointing out that the Irish Constitution can only be amended by a referendum.

Voters in Ireland will head to the polls Friday.