Tearful Scenes As Irish Woman Proposes To Girlfriend Moments After Landslide Vote For Marriage Equality (VIDEO)

Last weekend, Ireland became the first nation on earth to legalize gay marriage through popular vote, and one woman didn’t waste a single minute of her newly won right to marry the love of her life.

41-year-old Billie has been with partner Kate Stoica, 26, for six years before the Marriage Equality referendum. Just minutes after the vote was passed in favor of equalising marriage rights, Billie dropped to one knee and asked Kate to be her wife – and Kate said yes.

You can watch the video of the proposal below:

It was a beautiful moment in a truly remarkable day for Ireland, so remarkable in fact that few of us dared hope for it. When the final ballots were counted, the vote was 62 percent in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, and 38 percent opposed. Only one district out of 43 voted the measure down.

This, from a religiously observant Catholic country, which only decriminalized homosexuality in 1993.

But what we learned with this vote is that the influence of the church in Ireland has waned, particularly amongst the young, and those hard and intolerant attitudes are dying out with the generations who hold them.

While we celebrate the lives that will be transformed by this vote, it is also important to reflect on the lives limited and lost before. As LGBT activist David Norris told the Irish Examiner after the historic vote.

“Over the last 40 or 50 years of this campaign, so many young people tragically took their lives. And today we should remember them as well.”

There remain challenges ahead for other marginalized communities with Ireland – and this vote should signal hope for them.

The Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution equates the right to life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or fetus. In doing so it criminalizes abortion in all cases except where to continue a pregnancy would result in death. The Abortion Rights Campaign and coalition of pro-choice groups in Ireland are gathering signatures to call for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland.

There is also a growing movement to recognize the gender expression of trans people across Ireland. A recent bill to grant these rights devolved into fiasco after authors of the bill stipulated that applicants for legal gender identity changes are not allowed to be married or in a civil partnership. This means that transgender people who are married will be forced to divorce their partners if they wish to change their gender identity.

Divorce in Ireland requires five years of living apart – or two years of separation for civil partnerships – meaning many people will not be eligible for gender identity recognition even if they are separated.

“This is a missed opportunity to enshrine the rights of all transgender people in Irish law. This bill will require substantial changes if it is to tackle the serious issue of discrimination against transgender people,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Acting Europe and Central Asia Director.

The Marriage Referendum has created a sense of momentum for the progressive majority in Ireland to transform their nation from one of the most regressive and theocratic on earth, to a beacon of acceptance and social liberalism. That is an enormous achievement that will liberate countless Irish citizens from lives lived in the shadows, free to live and love as they choose.

Featured Image via YouTube