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By Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish voters turned out in droves to cast ballots in a gay marriage referendum on Friday, with the high turnout likely to favor the Yes side seeking equality just two decades after the country decriminalized homosexuality. With the once mighty Catholic Church's influence ravaged by child abuse scandals, opinion polls indicated the proposal would pass by as much as two-to-one, making Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote. Irish national broadcaster RTE said it appeared to have been one of the highest ever turnouts for a referendum in the country, with turnout likely to reach 60 percent in Dublin.
Irish voters turned out in force Friday for a historic referendum on whether same-sex marriage should become legal, after a campaign that has exposed divisions in the traditionally Catholic nation. After 15 hours of voting, the ballot boxes were sealed at 10:00pm (2100 GMT) across the republic, with polling stations reporting higher-than-expected voter numbers. State broadcaster RTE said polling stations were recording a higher turnout than usual for referendums, with voting levels in cities such as Dublin, Limerick and Waterford predicted to top 60 percent.