In May 2015, following the successful outcome of the Marriage Equality Referendum, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage via popular vote. This chapter examines the move towards marriage equality in Ireland, which culminated in the recent referendum, from political and legal perspectives. The article concludes that the referendum was unnecessary because of judicial deference to legislative enactments in areas of social policy, and accordingly it critiques the circuitous approach to marriage equality that was adopted by the Irish Parliament pre-referendum. The article concludes that the eventual Marriage Equality Referendum was a crude, uncertain, yet highly successful socio-legal experiment that resulted not from political dynamism, but instead from a lack of political determination to tackle the issue in Parliament, and governmental recourse to a politically opportune exercise in participative democracy.