London: Those voting “Yes” took a comfortable lead on Saturday in Ireland's referendum on same-sex marriages held on Friday.
The Irish Times reported that Ireland was on course to approve the amendment on same-sex marriage with a strong “Yes” from across the country.
“It’s a historical day for Ireland,” the report quoted Minister for Health Leo Varadkar as telling national broadcaster RTÉ.
He said that the “Yes” vote would make Ireland a “beacon of light”.
Prominent “No” campaigner and director of the Iona Institute, David Quinn seemed to be conceding the vote.
“Congratulations to the Yes site. Well done,” he tweeted.
Projections have given a comfortable lead to same-sex advocates, although their opponents have gained ground in recent weeks, while a significant percentage of the electorate remain undecided.
On the ballot in Friday's referendum, the voters had select a simple “Yes” or “No” to the proposition tendered by the Irish government coalition between Conservatives and Labour, which would defend the right that "marriage can be contracted according to the law for two people regardless of their sex".
In contrast, critics, including anti-abortion groups, ultra-conservatives and the Catholic Church, argue that these unions undermine the values of traditional family, and radically alter the processes of adoption and surrogacy, in addition to eroding the rights of the child.
The Republic of Ireland enacted the law on civil partnership in 2010, giving legal recognition to unmarried couples of the same sex for the first time in the country, but the law avoids describing unions as marriage, and they lack constitutional protections.