Ireland holds a referendum Friday that could make it the first country to legalize gay marriage by a direct vote of the people. The passage of the referendum would mark a startling turn of events in a historically conservative Catholic country where homosexual acts were against the law up until 1993. Here is an opinion piece on the debate in Ireland from the Irish Times.

Though no other country has held a national referendum on the issue, same-sex marriage has been made legal in all or parts of nearly 20 nations, beginning in 2001 in the Netherlands. Take a quick tour around the world!

Same-Sex Marriage Goes Global by Worldcrunch