A landmark referendum in the Republic of Ireland has given the green light to same-sex marriage.  The Irish nation opened the vote to its people on 22 May 2015, which resulted in a majority of constituencies voting in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

The move in favour of equality is an extraordinary result for Ireland, following centuries of conservative government.

In Australia, momentum on the legalisation of same sex marriage has tended to be inconsistent and slow to develop. However, it appears that the Irish referendum has stimulated action from Federal Parliament. While there has been resistance to a referendum on the issue, Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, has indicated that he will introduce the Marriage Amendment (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015 into Federal Parliament on 1 June 2015.

The proposed Bill would validate same-sex marriage by altering the current legal definition of marriage from between a “man and a woman” to between “two people”. If the Bill passes through Parliament, same-sex marriages entered into abroad will also be recognised in Australia.