Irish government set to lose votes to update ‘sexist’ constitution

Irish government set to lose votes to update ‘sexist’ constitution - Domestic News - News

Irish Government Concedes Defeat in Two Referendums to Modernize Constitutional Language

Despite the hopes and anticipation of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to eliminate “very old-fashioned, very sexist language about women” in Ireland’s constitution, the Irish government conceded on Saturday that it had likely suffered an embarrassing defeat in two referendums intended to change the constitutional references regarding marriage and a woman’s role in the home.

Coinciding International Women’s Day Vote

The Irish population went to the polls on Friday, with deliberate timing that coincided with International Women’s Day. The objective was to replace two constitutional references, one stating that the family unit is “founded on marriage,” and the other affirming that a woman supports the Irish state through “her life within the home.”

Televised Interview with RTE News

Irish Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, in a televised interview with RTE News, acknowledged that “it does look like a ‘no’ vote” on both proposals. He urged respect for the people’s decision once the final count had been announced, stating, “We have to respect that – that’s the voice of the people.”

Expected Official Results and Low Turnout

Official results for both votes are anticipated to be announced separately later on Saturday. Noteworthy is the low turnout reported throughout the day, with some areas recording less than 30% of registered voters.

Support for Original Constitutional Wordings from Religious and Socially Conservative Groups

If the votes had passed, the constitution would have stated that the family is based “on marriage or on other durable relationships.” However, religious and socially conservative groups who campaigned for a “No” vote took issue with the concept of a “durable relationship,” arguing instead for maintaining the original wording.

RTE Debate and Catholic Influence on Ireland’s Constitution

During an intense RTE debate leading up to the vote, conservative campaigner Maria Steen clashed with Irish deputy prime minister Micheál Martin. Steen insisted that “the reality is that the majority of women do the majority of work in the home.”

Ireland’s Social Progress Amidst Catholic Influence and Abuse Scandals

Ireland’s constitution, published in 1937, was significantly influenced by Catholic social teachings. Over the past few decades, however, Catholic influence has decreased, and Ireland’s Church has been rocked by a series of clergy abuse scandals. Nevertheless, in recent years, Ireland has held numerous referendums on social issues, with voters repeatedly approving progressive changes to the country’s constitution.

Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage (2015), Abortion Ban Ended (2018), and Divorce Laws Liberalized (2019)

In 2015, voters overwhelmingly supported the legalization of same-sex marriage. Three years later, they repealed the abortion ban, and in 2019, Ireland’s divorce laws underwent liberalization following another referendum.

Developing Story: Updates to Follow

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly. Stay tuned for further information.