Irish Health Minister: A no vote on gay marriage would be ‘worse than losing my seat’

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar holds a press conference after the European Council on December 14, 2018, in Brussels.

Irish Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said a no vote in the referedum on same-sex marriage would be “worse than losing my seat”.

The Republic of Ireland is set to vote on May 22 on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage.

Speaking at the launch of the Fine Gael yes campaign launch, the Health Minister said he would be “devastated” if Ireland did not vote yes to approve same-sex marriage.

At the launch, and announcing the campaign to make same-sex marriage legal was Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Ministers Simon Coveney, Frances Fitzgerald, Leo Varadkar and the chair of the LGBT Fine Gael Group Jerry Buttimer.

“By voting yes on 22 May, we will ensure that all couples can share the benefits of civil marriage. We will ensure that people will be treated equally no matter who they love. We will acknowledge that same-sex couples, like other couples, deserve the equal right to commit to each other with the words, ‘I do’,” said Mr Kenny.

In March, a poll suggested over three quarters of the population of Ireland wanted to allow same-sex marriage.

At the referendum, Irish citizens will also vote on whether to reduce the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 21.