For the first time in history, a nation is holding a referendum to ask its electorate whether it should legalize same-sex marriage. The polls have already opened, and more than 3 million people are invited to cast their ballots with results expected on Saturday. As every poll points to a victory for the “yes” camp, Ireland might soon join the group of 20 countries where marriage equality is the law of the land, and would be the first to do so through a referendum. It’s a remarkable change for a country still largely dominated by the Catholic Church, where homosexual acts were illegal as recently as 1993. In a final TV interview before the polling stations opened, Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, urged voters to vote yes “for love and for equality.” While the yes campaign seems to dominate the debate, the “no voters” — mostly Catholic activists, writers and intellectuals — have become more vocal, saying that a yes vote would cause a crisis of personal conscience for Ireland. Many Irish people who are living overseas — particularly the yes voters — are returning home especially for the referendum, and are sharing their stories and photos on social media using the hashtag #hometovote.
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