UPDATED 5/24/15 AT 8:45 A.M.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gay rights advocates in New York City are cheering after Ireland’s citizens voted in a landslide to legalize gay marriage.

Emmaia Gelman with the group Irish Queers told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith the local community in New York is over the moon.

“It’s just such a powerful statement from the Irish public saying that homophobia is not the norm and is not to be accepted,” she said.

Gelman, who admitted she’s not completely sold on the institution of marriage, said the vote was about more than weddings. She said it was about acceptance, Smith reported.

Brendan Fay, founder of the St. Pat’s For All parade in Queens, said the vote also sends a message to the city’s larger Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Exclusion is not Irish. Inequality is not Irish,” he said.

Fay said he hopes next year’s parade reflects the spirit of the Irish people he said was clearly expressed in the vote.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also chimed in on Saturday, saying the vote “sent a powerful message to the world for fairness, for equality and for decency.”

“And Ireland has done so in a groundbreaking way – through a popular vote. The Irish people have directly declared that their LGBT brothers and sisters deserve the same rights protected for others,” de blasio continued in his statement. “As a city filled with strong Irish communities, we applaud this significant victory. And as a city committed to justice and equality for all, we urge our national leaders to grant all Americans this essential right here at home.”

Cathleen O’Donovan, of Sunnyside, Queens, told WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola the vote paves the way for her sister, Josephine, to marry her longtime partner, Naomi.

“She’s the happiest I’ve ever heard her, I have to say,” O’Donovan said. “It’s just like now you know you don’t have to keep it a secret anymore.

“As a family, we’re just really delighted. Everybody’s now fighting over, who’s bridesmaid? We’ve already had those emails and text messages. Where’s it going to be? What’s everybody wearing?”


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