Irish same-sex marriage referendum to take place in May

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The Irish government has cleared the way for a referendum on same-sex marriage to take place in May 2015.

An April ballot had previously thought to be the favoured option, however referendums on same-sex marriage, as well as reducing the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 21 will take place on an as-yet unspecified date in May.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the announcement, saying: “The Cabinet gave approval to hold the referenda, and both referenda will happen on the one day in the month of May 2015. The Government did not fix a final date.”

A commission is expected to be created to oversee the two referenda.

Ministers are soon expected to sign off on more detailed draft legislation which will recognise change of gender.

Support for same-sex marriage in Ireland has risen over the past few months.

A poll published on Sunday by the Irish Times showed that 71% of Irish voters said they would vote in favour of same-sex marriage, 17% would vote no and 3% refused to respond to the question.

When undecided voters or those who refused to respond are excluded, the Yes figure rises to 81% with 19% on the No side.

It’s an increase since the last poll in October, when the figure, excluding undecided voters and those who refused to answer, was 76% for Yes to 24% for No.