Spencer Beattie, the newly appointed Belfast Grand Master, put his “deeply held religious views” on hold last Wednesday in order to walk his lesbian daughter down the aisle at her wedding, reports Belfast Telegraph.
Beattie attended the ceremony in which daughter Lesa Beattie and partner Melanie Atkinson engaged in a civil partnership in Carrickfergus on Wednesday, February 21. “I’m all for equality and people having the right to make their own choices,” said Grand Master Beattie.
Beattie told Sunday Life that he didn’t know if there would be negative consequence as a result of his attendance at the ceremony. “I don’t know if I’ll get in trouble for going to the ceremony, but that’s not up to me.”
The Orange Order, a socially conservative masonic-style organisation which opposes same-sex marriage, were defiantly supportive of Fermanagh County Grand Master Stuart Brooker in 2015 after he said gay people could not join the organisation because “homosexuality is wrong”.
Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Brooker said “We’re a Christian organisation and therefore we believe in what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong.”
Brooker added that the Order’s rules and regulations would “not allow” a gay member.
A spokesman for the Orange Order later told the Belfast Telegraph that the remarks reflected the “personal views” of Mr Brooker. “However,” he added, “his viewpoint on certain issues would be shared by many within the Institution and others within wider society.”
In 2013, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland described a Westminister vote on gay marriage as “further evidence of the departure from Christian standards in our nation and of moral decline.”
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