Voting in the Marriage Referendum is under way today on Donegal’s islands, as the rest of the county prepares to cast their ballots tomorrow in the landmark vote.
Residents of Arranmore, Tory, Gola, Inishboffin and Inishfree will join with other residents from Ireland’s offshore islands today, casting their votes in the referendum which will determine if same-sex marriage will be equally recognised as the marriage between men an women under the Irish constitution.
Voters are also being asked if the age of those eligible for election to the office of President should be lowered from 35 to 21.
Ireland is the world’s first country to put the question of same-sex marriage equality to a public vote by referendum.
The rest of the county will go to the polls tomorrow and the count is set to take place at two centres, in Donegal Town and Letterkenny, on Saturday.
Bookmaker Paddy Power has listed the two Donegal constituencies as the most likely in the country to vote ‘no’. They have offered odds of Donegal North East at 10/3 and Donegal South West at 9/2 as the areas most likely to vote no in the marriage referendum. Nationally they are offering odds of 1/7 the proposal will pass and 4/1 on it failing.
Calling for a no vote, Fr Eamonn McLaughlin said children’s rights may be compromised if it passes.
“If the referendum is passed it would be constitutionally impossible for the Oireachtas to give a stated preference in law for a child to have a mother and a father. Adult rights will trump children’s rights.”
Co-Director of YesEquality Donegal, Noel Sharkey, said it is a simple case of equality. “LGBT people are looking for constitutional protection and status for their relationships like their heterosexual counterparts. Nothing more. Nothing less.”