World News: Ireland votes for gay unions, Islamic State strikes again

World News: Ireland votes for gay unions, Islamic State strikes again

Ireland legalizes same-sex marriage

Widely known for their socially conservative views and large national involvement with the Catholic church, Ireland is likely to become the first country in the world to democratically grant same-sex couples full legal equality. An unexpected referendum with 70 percent of voters in favor of the change, Ireland votes May 22, as of press time.

Ireland will decide whether to change the constitutional definition of marriage. If instituted, they will also be the first country to institute gay marriage by popular vote, rather than through legislation. Gay marriage is supported by most of the political parties, the media, employers, trade unions, students, and sports and music personalities.

Gay rights campaigners urge voting “yes” to give more legal protection and broader social acceptance. They argue that approving marriage equality will not change the concept of marriage, and that the issue is one of equality for all Irish citizens. “Gay marriage is becoming more and more an emblem of a modern society, and Ireland is moving into that era,” says Katherine Zappone, a member of the Irish senate and prominent “yes” campaigner.

Many opposed to the referendum say that they believe that the forthcoming proposed amendment will lead to catastrophic consequences for vulnerable children in the Irish state, claiming the family unit will be diminished as a result of its implementation. Many conservative “no” activists are scared of the possibly socially liberal consequences.

Voting “yes” could change history forever. The world will be waiting to see if the referendum will pass, and if little conservative Ireland will move towards a more socially equal nation.

UPDATE: Ireland has voted ‘yes’ marriage equality with 2-1 vote.

Terrorist attack on civilians in southern Pakistan

The Islamic State (IS) is currently being held responsible for the attack after pro IS pamphlets were discovered at the crime scene. IS’s Twitter page, (the authenticity has not yet identified), has also reportedly claimed to have been the perpetrators. This tragedy comes recently after Pakistan’s government announced it would be cracking down on terrorism earlier this year. This, too, was stemmed by the massacre of nearly 150 students and staff at Peshawar school by the Taliban last fall.

The shooting occurred on May 13 as an overcrowded public bus wove its way through the congested streets of Karachi, a major metropolis of 18 cities. Six gunmen entered through the back door of the bus from three motorcycles and ordered the passengers get down on the floor. The perpetrators began shooting indiscriminately at the passengers, mostly women and young men. A reported 44 civilians were killed, while 16 were critically wounded.

This is the first major attack on civilians by the IS who announced earlier this year they were organizing a branch across the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. The IS has also announced that there will be more mass acts of violence to come. The victims were mostly Ismaili Shias, a denomination of Islam. They have often been attacked in numerous Middle Eastern and South Asian countries for their differing and non mainstream political views.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his grief over the incident and the lives lost, but has only urged authorities to submit a report over the event.