Voting closes, Ireland awaits result of gay marriage referendum
Voting has closed in the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage.
Although there are no exit polls on record, the Guardian reports an average turnout of 40-50 per cent of people voting.
Known as the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015, if successful the legislation will enshrine marriage equality in Ireland's Constitution.
Turnout in Dublin City had averaged 44% by 7pm local time (voting closed at 10pm).
Dublin North East was the highest with 57% voting while Dublin Central was still the lowest with 31%.
Dublin North Central was on 53%, South Central 44%, South East 40% and North West 38%.
Forty-six per cent of the Clare electorate has voted had voted by 8.45pm, the highest figure recorded is 53% at Tulla National School.
Voters were given two ballot papers at polling stations: a white paper for the marriage referendum and a green one for the eligible age of presidential candidates referendum being conducted conjointly.
People cast their votes by putting an 'X' mark in the box beside their preference, Yes/Tá
Taoiseach Enda Kenny voted at St Anthony's School in Castlebar, County Mayo, accompanied by his wife Fionnuala.
Kenny himself is in favour of same-sex marriage as are all Ireland’s major political parties and he urged people to turn up to the polling booths to "create history" and "obliterate" prejudice.
In 2010, the government enacted civil partnership legislation, which provided legal recognition for gay couples.
In regard to an Australian referendum, constitutional lawyer Professor George Williams from the University of NSW says because there is nothing in the Australian Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage a vote by parliament is all that is needed.
The difference in Ireland is that marriage is defined in their constitution, thus requiring a referendum to allow same-sex marriage.
Ireland’s Referendum Commission has said counting the votes will not begin until 9am Dublin time on Saturday (6pm Saturday AEST).
Results can be monitored online here.
image: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala cast their vote.