Church of Ireland support for the pro-gay marriage motion comes from the Republic of Ireland
General Synod members of the Church of Ireland voted against a motion which would mitigate the organisation’s less than inclusive attitude towards same-sex marriages.
Following a two-hour discussion on the motion, it failed to gain acceptance with Synod members voting to reject the motion by 176 to 146 votes.
Notably, a clear divide between north and south members of the Synod arose. Nearly all speakers against the motion hailed from Northern Ireland, while the majority of support for the motion came from Church of Ireland clergy from the Republic of Ireland.
Northern Ireland’s DUP has continued to block the legalisation of same-sex marriage, making Ireland’s neighbour to the north the last country in the UK to make legal provision for it.
Dr Leo Kilroy
Proposed by Wicklow-based Dr Leo Kilroy, the motion called for the Church of Ireland to create “sensitive pastoral arrangements for public prayer and thanksgiving with same-sex couples” at important times in their lives, like marriage.
“Many of your brothers and sisters in our Church are lesbian and gay,” Dr Kilroy said.
“Advances in civic society in recent years have seen LGBT people achieve many rights and legal protections… But many lesbian and gay people continue [to] feel gravely hurt by the church.”
“The motion is not asking for marriage in the Church. I understand that many of you hold the Church’s definition of marriage dearly.
“This motion is careful to protect Canon 31. It is simply calling for permission to develop ways to publicly and pastorally support and celebrate lesbian and gay people at important times in their lives.”
The motion also requested recognition from the church of “injury felt by members who enter into loving, committed and legally recognised same-sex relationships, due to the absence of provision for them, to mark that key moment in their lives publicly and prayerfully in church.”
Those who spoke for the motion cited the pain which LGBT people suffer as a result of the Church’s lack of provision
Reverend Alison Calvin from the diocese of Kilmore felt it was unfair that because of her firmly held religious beliefs she was portrayed as “a narrow-minded bigot”.
Another person in opposition to the motion, Canon Maurice Elliott of the Down and Dromore diocese contended that the motion would prove “immensely detrimental”.
Do you think that Church of Ireland members’ beliefs will change if same-sex marriage becomes legalised in Northern Ireland? Are firmly held religious beliefs legitimate grounds to maintain the status quo? Let us know in the comments below.
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