Voters in Ireland will head to the polls on May 22 to determine whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
The date was announced Thursday by Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who called for a respectful, tolerant, understanding and sensitive referendum. “It’s a question that will be put very clearly to the people. I support this very strongly. It sets out our image of a very tolerant and inclusive Ireland,” he said.
The vote is needed to amend the family section of Ireland’s 77-year-old constitution.
Voters will be asked: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
The vote is particularly historic because if it passes, Ireland would become the world’s first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a national vote.
Recent polls show widespread support for marriage equality in the traditionally conservative Catholic country.