National polls indicate country would back legalisation by margin as much as two-to-one, signalling major social shift.
Al Jazeera, May 17
A series of polls have indicated that Ireland is very likely to vote in a favour of legalising same-sex marriage in an upcoming referendum.
Polls on Saturday suggested that voters would back the move in a referendum set for Friday by a margin as much as two-to-one, making Ireland the first country to approve the policy in a national plebiscite.
Support for homosexual rights has surged in Ireland, which has been considered one of the most socially conservative countries in western Europe, in recent decades as the power of the Catholic Church collapsed in the wake of a series of child abuse scandals.
If Ireland votes yes, it will join 18 countries which have made, or are in the process of making the change, 13 of them in Europe.
Other European countries that have legalised gay marriage include Iceland, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, and Finland. The UK legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales in 2013. [Also Belgium, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Norway].
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