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Same sex marriage vote will not change our stance, say the Churches in Republic of Ireland

By Victoria O'Hara

Church leaders have voiced disappointment at the outcome of the referendum after the vote resulted in overwhelming support to legalise gay marriage in the Republic of Ireland.

One of Ireland's most senior Catholic clerics has called for the Church to take a "reality check" following the result.

Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, said the Church in Ireland needed to reconnect with young people.

But last night he said churches will not be made available for gay couples to marry. It is only 22 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the Republic.

The Very Rev Dr Norman Hamilton, Convener of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Council for Church in Society, said it were "deeply disappointed and saddened" by the result.

In a statement he explained the Presbyterian Church would still maintain the view that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman.

"While the result is a significant change for Irish Society, as a Church we will continue to reach out to all people, whatever their situation, as all are equally welcome," he said.

"Whilst reaffirming our understanding of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, we pray for wisdom for the Government and urge it to consult faith groups over the coming months as it formulates the necessary subsequent legislation."

The Church of Ireland also said the outcome of the referendum would not change its position.

"The Church has often existed, in history, with different views from those adopted by the State, and has sought to live with both conviction and good relationships with the civil authorities and communities in which it is set.

"Marriage services taking place in a Church of Ireland church, or conducted by a minister of the Church of Ireland may - in compliance with Church teaching, liturgy and canon law - continue to celebrate only marriage between a man and a woman.

"We would now sincerely urge a spirit of public generosity, both from those for whom the result of the referendum represents triumph, and from those for whom it signifies disaster." A statement from the Methodist Church was not available, but speaking personally, Methodist minister Rev Robert Cooper said: "This will not change the Methodist Church's stance, which is marriage is between a man and a woman. But we would recognise the democratic outcome of the vote." Rev Cooper, from Newtownards, Co Down, added: "We recognise what has happened, but still hold that marriage is between a man and a woman and that will not be changed by the vote, however large it was."

Buddhist chaplain Frank Liddy (60) from Belfast said the vote has given "hope and positivity" for change in Northern Ireland.

"I would look forward to a referendum in Northern Ireland. For me it was a breath of fresh air," he said. The co-founder of the Black Mountain Zen Centre said: "I very much think this could be a positive step for people in Northern Ireland. I think it is about more emancipation than revolution and to truly appreciate and be respectful of others despite colour or creed or religion. For me this is a signpost for new thinking and freedom."

No one from the Islamic community was available for comment.

Further Reading

Why I'm proud to reveal my true self after the historic Yes vote over the border

Public vote will not change our stance, say the Churches

Yes vote shows Churches have lost hold of nation's conscience

Pressure growing for a referendum to take place in Northern Ireland  

  Irish gay marriage referendum: Pressure to build on Northern Ireland's politicians to allow vote on gay marriage

Belfast Telegraph

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