DUBLIN - Irish voters appear to have voted heavily in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in a historic referendum in the traditionally Catholic country, government ministers and opponents of the bill said on Saturday.
Final results are not expected until later in the day in the poll, which could make Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote.
"I think it's won," Equality Minister Aodhan O'Riordain told Reuters at the main count center in Dublin, the first of several ministers to predict the vote would pass. "This has really touched a nerve in Ireland today and I'm so proud to be Irish."
One of the main opponents of the bill conceded it had likely passed, minutes after the first boxes were opened.
"Everyone seems to be predicting a 'yes' ... and that seems to be the case at the moment. It's disappointing," said John Murray from Catholic think tank the Iona Institute.