Three major Northern Ireland churches refuse to hold same-sex marriages

Three major churches in Northern Ireland have told the Belfast Telegraph that they will refuse same-sex union ceremonies despite new legislation.

Two women getting married which three churches in Northern Ireland are opposed to.

The Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church have stated that they will not perform same-sex union ceremonies following the passing of marriage equality in Northern Ireland. 

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, a spokesperson for the Church of Ireland stated, “The Church of Ireland affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its purpose a union permanent and lifelong, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side.”

The Methodist Church insist marriage is between “one man and one woman”. They further referenced the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019 which makes provisions protecting an organisation to act in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Deputy clerk of the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly, Reverend Jim Stothers went into detail about the Church’s presence throughout Ireland and how it held onto “the scriptural basis of marriage” after same-sex marriage was legalised in the Repulic of Ireland in 2015.

Reverend Jim Stothers said, “In every marriage service, the minister officiating is required to read this statement: ‘Since the beginning of creation, God, in His gracious purpose, provided marriage as the accepted way in which a man and a woman may come together as husband and wife. This is the only basis on which marriage can take place within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’. The introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland does not change that conviction.”

All Souls Church, a non-subscribing Presbyterian Church, confirmed they will support same-sex marriage ceremonies. Since midnight on Monday, same-sex union and bodily autonomy was legalised in the absence of a Stormont Assembly

Moderator of the non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland and Minister of All Souls, Rev Chris Hudson, expressed disappointment towards churches refusing to host same-sex weddings. He said, “It is important to put in place immediately the option for churches to opt in or stay out of marriage equality.”

Despite the Catholic Church expressing to the Belfast Telegraph concerns over the “redefinition” of marriage, there was no explicit statement made in relation to whether they would perform same-sex ceremonies.

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