Roman Catholic gay priest Dr Bernárd Lynch married his long term partner Billy Desmond in Clare
Dr Bernárd Lynch, a Roman Catholic gay priest, married his long-term partner Billy Desmond last week in Co Clare.
The couple had their ceremony at Clare’s Armada Hotel at Spanish Point with more than one hundred and twenty friends and family there to help them celebrate their wedding day.
Fr Lynch grew up in Ennis, Co Clare in the 1950s and became the first gay priest in the world to be civil partnered in 2006.
Following the results of the 2015 Marriage Equality Referendum Fr Lynch was able to marry his partner, Desmond, on Thursday.
In 2015 Fr Lynch wrote an opinion piece on The Outmost declaring that after voting Yes in the Marriage Equality Referendum, Ireland had finally broken free from the Catholic church’s influence.
“We have broken the shackles of our colonial past and our colonial governance by the Roman Catholic Church,” he wrote.
During the wedding ceremony, the activism and advocacy of Fr Lynch was praised, with a proclamation being read out to pay tribute to him “for being a tireless advocate for the right of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people for more than 40 years as an out gay and proud Roman Catholic priest.”
The couple’s ceremony booklet was an eight page document with the title ‘Our Right to love is our Right to Justice – Billy and Bernard’.
An attendee at the wedding said that “the love in the room was palpable. It was a beautiful ceremony.”
Another person who attended the ceremony said “the love between the two was magic and oozed spirituality.”
Human Rights Champion
Fr Lynch was living in New York in the ’80s where he helped thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS to come to terms with their fate.
The wedding tribute indicated that Fr Lynch sustained the first AIDS ministry in New York which helped thousands with the disease “in the darkest years of the HIV pandemic.”
The tribute also made known that Fr Lynch helped to heal the spirits of those who had been diagnosed with AIDS and helped to celebrate their short lives and guide them and their families through their deaths.
Fr Lynch came out publicly in 1986, whereupon he lost his job.
“If I did lie, if I did pretend,” Fr Lynch said in a press interview, “I’d have a job. I could even have a lover on the side… I didn’t come out publicly until 1986. As soon as I went public, I lost my job.”
(Image: Liam Burke)
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