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The Constitutional Referendum in Comparative Perspective: Same-Sex Marriage in Ireland and Australia

Scott Stephenson

International Journal of Constitutional Law | Published : 2015


The significance of Ireland’s recent referendum on same-sex marriage extends well beyond its borders. The result, in which a majority of voters approved an amendment to the Irish Constitution allowing two persons to marry without distinction as to their sex, has sparked a flurry of debate and legislative activity in Australia. The country is, in some respects, well positioned to follow Ireland’s lead given that same-sex marriage is not yet legal and amendments to the Australian Constitution also require approval at a referendum. However, suggestions in Australia that a referendum should be held on same-sex marriage have been given very short shrift by most politicians and academics. The issu..

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