As the cliche goes, success has many fathers and in the context of the Yes victory in the Irish gay marriage vote there will be many politicians who will want to claim the credit. It is a fact that this referendum was the brainchild of Eamon Gilmore, leader of the Irish Labour Party back in 2011.
He insisted to his Fine Gael colleagues that a vote be held on same sex marriage in the lifetime of the new government. Gilmore described the proposed referendum as the “civil rights issue of this generation”. Since entering coalition with Fine Gael, Gilmore has been ditched as party leader as Labour took a hammering in the opinion polls.
Voters turned on Labour over austerity cuts and water charges with the same venom as the British electorate rejected the Liberal Democrats.
Irish Labour strategists will be hoping this referendum victory will give them some kind of recovery bounce ahead of next year’s general election. But whether Labour gains from today’s stunning pro-gay marriage victory especially in greater Dublin is open to question.
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