Vice President Joe Biden has applauded
passage of a referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland, now the
first country to legalize such unions through a popular vote.
Voters in mostly Roman Catholic Ireland
headed to the polls on Friday. The following day, thousands gathered
at Dublin Castle's central square, where returns were being announced
live on big-screen televisions. The referendum passed with more than
62% of the vote.
voters resoundingly approve gay marriage.)
In an op-ed published Thursday, Biden
praised the Irish people for taking a “courageous stand for love
“They recognized the fundamental
truth that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, and that
there can be no justification for the denigration or persecution of
anyone because of who they love or who they are.”
Biden reflected on how the gay rights
movement has grown in Ireland and the United States.
“In 22 years, Ireland has gone from a
nation where simply being LGBT was against the law to a nation where
the people resoundingly stand for equal rights.”
“And here in the United States, in
just the past three years we've gone from six states recognizing
marriage equality to 37 states, compromising 224 million Americans.
It's about love. It's about equality. It's about dignity. It's
about our most cherished values. That's what this is about – it's
all it's ever been about,” he
Biden added that it takes “courageous
individuals who are willing to step forward, to turn adversity into
positive change” and concluded with a quote from Irish poet William
Butler Yeats: “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make
it hot by striking.”