Here are a few key dates on Ireland’s shift from a traditionally Catholic and conservative country to introducing gay marriage.
:: In 1861 while under Victorian British rule the Offences Against the Persons Act was brought in making “buggery” illegal.
:: It was decriminalised for over 21s in England and Wales in 1967 but it would be another 25 years before the Irish government moved.
:: In 1975 the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform was established by activists in Dublin universities. Former Irish president Mary McAleese, who’s son Justin is gay, was the legal adviser.
:: Senator David Norris, a Joycean scholar and something of a national treasure among the gay community and further afield, unsuccessfully challenged the ban in the Irish courts in 1980 and 1983.
:: 1983 also marked the first Gay Pride festival in Dublin.
:: In 1988, with the support of another former Irish president Mary Robinson, David Norris won a European Court of Human Rights case against Ireland’s gay ban.
:: Homosexuality was then decriminalised on June 24 1993.
:: In 2006 the Labour Party proposed laws to introduce civil partnerships for same-sex couples but it was defeated by a conservative Dail parliament.
:: That year Senator Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan began a long line of unsuccessful court battles to have their Canadian marriage recognised in Ireland.
:: By 2010 the mood had shifted among politicians as they voted in laws to hold and recognise gay unions.
:: On April 5 2011 the first civil partnerships took place in Ireland.
:: That same year, as the Labour Party successfully fought an election to get into coalition government, then leader Eamon Gilmore pledged to hold a referendum on gay marriage.
:: In 2013 Mr Gilmore described the issue of same-sex marriage as the civil rights issue of this generation and in November that year the Government confirmed plans for a popular poll.
:: Health Minister Leo Varadkar announces he is gay in January 2015. In doing so he becomes Ireland’s first openly gay cabinet member.
:: Ireland made history on May 22 2015 as its voters became the first to back gay marriage rights by referendum.