October 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Irish same-sex marriage law formally signed

Ireland, Michael Higgins, gay news, Washington Blade

Irish President Michael Higgins (Photo by Conor Ó Mearáin; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Irish Presidential Commission on Thursday formally signed a law that extends marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The Journal, an Irish newspaper, reported the commission signed the measure because President Michael Higgins is currently in the U.S. The publication said gays and lesbians will be able to legally tie the knot in Ireland next month.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, an Irish advocacy group, on its Twitter page praised the commission for signing the law.

Ireland in May became the first country in the world in which same-sex couples received marriage rights through a popular vote.

Higgins in August officially signed an amendment to the Irish constitution that allows nuptials for gays and lesbians. Prime Minister Edna Kenny’s government subsequently introduced a bill that would allow the referendum to officially take effect.

Same-sex couples can legally marry in the U.S., Canada, Mexico City and several Mexican states, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, Wales, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa and New Zealand. Gays and lesbians are also able to tie the knot in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Mayotte, Reunion, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Pitcairn Island, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Wallis and Futuna.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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