Ireland votes for gay marriage

Ireland votes in favour of gay marriage

The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage.

Following the results of yesterday's historic referendum, Ireland has become the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage through a popular vote.

The exact figures have yet to be announced, but it is estimated that the "yes" voters won by a margin of two to one.

Some "no" campaigners have already conceded defeat.

"This has really touched a nerve in Ireland," said the Equality Minister Aodhan O'Riordain. "It's a very strong message to every LGBT young person in Ireland and every LGBT young person in the world."

The Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who is gay, described the result as "a social revolution" in this traditionally Catholic country.

The "yes" vote follows a successful campaign by politicians, businesses and celebrities, which saw tens of thousands of Irish living or visiting abroad to return home to vote.

The landslide result is all the more remarkable because homosexuality was only decriminalised in the Republic of Ireland in 1993.

Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Northern Ireland.