Saturday vote counts of the Irish referendum on gay marriage show that the historical Roman Catholic stronghold is ready to embrace same-sex marriage with open arms.

From The New York Times:

Both proponents and opponents said the only remaining question was the size of the victory for approval. Ronan Mullen, an Irish senator and one of only a few politicians to oppose the measure, predicted the win would be “substantial.” The official results will be announced this afternoon.

The referendum changes Ireland’s Constitution so that marriages between two people would be legal “without distinction as to their sex.”

That the vote even came to pass barely two decades after Ireland decriminalized homosexuality, accentuated the cultural change afoot and the church’s declining influence after a series of scandals. But the vote is also the latest chapter in a sharpening global cultural clash. While marriage equality is surging in the West, gay rights are under renewed attack in Russia, in parts of Africa, and from Islamic extremists, most notably the Islamic State.

Read more, and check out some of the inspiring tweets by Irish citizens traveling home to vote in the referendum from places as near as England and as far as Ethiopia here.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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