Ireland voted for marriage equality over the weekend, becoming the first state to approve it by referendum. Its a sign of how the cultural tide has shifted in the former theocracy, but its also putting pressure on other countries to make progress. Close to home, Australians are asking that if the Irish can do it, why can't they? And just over the border, Northern Ireland faces the shame of being the only country in Western Europe to still deny marriage equality. A look at the map shows that that's not entirely true - isn't Germany "western"? Aren't Britain's wretched, tax-cheating dependencies as much "countries" as Northern Ireland, a part of the UK? Ditto Greenland, a dependency of Denmark? But there's still a powerful sense that Northern Ireland has been left behind as a result of fundamentalist protestant bigotry - and something the Northern Irish will need to deal with if they want to pretend to be part of the modern world.