Ireland's voters have approved gay marriage by 62 to 38 percent, becoming the first country ever to do so in a nationwide vote. The rate of change is astonishing; homosexuality remained a crime in Ireland down to 1993, and now Ireland is one of the world's most gay-friendly countries.
The change has a lot to do with the collapse of Ireland's Catholic church. The secularization that in most of Europe took places gradually over the whole period from 1900 to now was compressed in Ireland into a single generation. I think this had two causes. First, a general opening of Ireland to the world, driven by the economic boom of the 90s and EU membership; and second, the catastrophic child abuse scandals of the Irish church. But whatever the reason, Ireland has shed the gloomy, repressive Catholicism that accompanied its independence and become very quickly much more like the rest of Europe
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I'd also factor in the general collapse of the IRA movement, with young Irish people in the late 80s and 90s just being completely fed up with the cycle of violence and hatred. Tired of the pain and suffering brought on the nation by tradtion and the old ways, people began more and more to embrace newer and more positive values.
If you can't be arsed to get angry over who is Orange and who is Green anymore, are you terribly likely to get all that upset about who is goinking whom?
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