For months, Ireland has debated whether to legalize gay marriage. Now it’s time to vote, and the choice is a simple yes or no.
Friday’s referendum on amending the Irish constitution to give marriage rights to homosexuals is expected to be approved, based on all opinion polls that have given “yes” voters a double-digit lead throughout the two-month campaign.
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But government officials and gay rights activists are expressing caution given Ireland’s track record in producing surprise referendum results.
They say achieving a high voter turnout is crucial, particularly among younger citizens who traditionally don’t vote in great numbers.
Leaders of the country’s dominant faith, Roman Catholicism, have fueled opposition to the measure.
Polls opened at 7 am (0600GMT) and close at 10 pm (2100GMT). Results will be announced Saturday.