Ireland is to hold a referendum on legalising gay marriage after a special convention set up to reform the Irish constitution recommended that same-sex couples in the republic be recognised in law.
The convention voted 79% in favour of full equality for same-sex marriage in Dublin on Sunday.
Under the Irish constitution any major constitutional change has to be ratified by the electorate.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Gay and Lesbian Network welcomed the endorsement of gay marriage equality.
The Marriage Equality director Moninne Griffith said the vote proved "Ireland is ready for equality for same-sex couples and wants equal access to civil marriage for loving committed gay and lesbian couples".
The Gay and Lesbian Network director Brian Sheehan described the vote as a "historic day – a major milestone on the remarkable journey" towards full equality.
The convention was established by the Fine-Gael-Labour coalition to secularise much of the Irish constitution, which has given the Catholic church a great deal of power and influence in the state since its foundation.
[Same sex marriage via Shutterstock]