Ireland Rejects Constitution Changes, Keeping ‘Women in the Home’ Language

Voters in Ireland have rejected two proposed changes to the country’s Constitution that would have removed language about women’s duties being in the home and broadened the definition of family beyond marriage.

The results, announced on Saturday, were an unexpected defeat for equality campaigners and for Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, or prime minister.

Mr. Varadkar, speaking late Saturday afternoon after most of the votes had been counted, said that it was clear that the proposals had been defeated, and that the government respected the results.

“As head of government and on behalf of the government, we accept responsibility for the result,” he said. “It was our responsibility to convince the majority of people to vote ‘Yes,’ and we clearly failed to do so.”

Irish citizens had gone to the polls on Friday to vote in two referendums to amend the country’s 87-year-old Constitution, which was drafted at a time when the Roman Catholic Church’s influence on many aspects of life in Ireland was immense.

Supporters viewed the proposed amendments, which all of Ireland’s political parties backed, as vital to ensuring that the Constitution reflected the country’s more secular and liberal modern identity. But many of those who cast their ballots in the referendums said “no” to both questions being considered.

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