Irish voters approve children's-rights amendment, despite unexpected opposition
CWN - November 12, 2012
Irish voters have approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the rights of children in a referendum vote. But government officials were taken off guard by the size of the opposing vote.
The children’s-rights amendment was endorsed by 58% of the voters who participated in the referendum, with 42% voting against it. Only about one-third of the eligible voters cast ballots.
Supporters had expected a more decisive victory for the measure, which had energetic backing from the government and an endorsement from the Catholic bishops. There was no major organized opposition. But some pro-life activists had voiced fears that the constitutional amendment would be a setback for the rights of parents.
The referendum vote could be challenged in court. Critics of the constitutional change have complained that the literature distributed by the government to explain the vote was misleading.
Nevertheless successful campaigners hailed the result of the vote. Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald, a leading supporter of the referendum, said that the voting marked a “historic day for the protection of children in Ireland.” Prime Minister Enda Kenny agreed that “it is a historic day for the children of Ireland as it is the first time the constitution of this Republic will recognize them as citizens in their own right.”
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