Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork has told BBC Radio Ulster that he supports the introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples.
“The events in society are moving very rapidly and the church is not at all up to pace with the debate,” said Bishop Paul Colton, adding, “I certainly support civil same sex marriage.”
He continued, “I recognise that the Church of Ireland’s definition of marriage is for itself and I adhere to that discipline… but that is not to say that everyone must be required to take the church of Ireland’s view of marriage.”
The bishop acknowledged that his stance on the issue is not a popular one within the Church but hopes that it will change in the future, saying, “I’m among those in the church, and perhaps we’re only a minority, albeit a significant one that long to see the day when we can have a discussion – as we’ve had discussions over the years on all sorts of other issues about the nature of marriage – with a view, ultimately, at least to the blessing of same-sex couples following civil unions if not to their marriage in church as is happening in other parts of the Anglican communion.”
His comments were welcomed by the Church of Ireland’s pro-gay group, Changing Attitude Ireland (CAI). Dr Richard O’Leary, Chair of CAI, responded that “We welcome the Bishop of Cork’s support for the full inclusion of same sex couples by both the state and our church”.
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