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Church motion on sexuality needs debate

As Church of Ireland members, who are lesbian, gay or bisexual, we were not consulted as the Bishop of Down and Dromore and Archbishop of Dublin drafted the resolutions on sexuality before General Synod this week.

Had we been, we would have been clear that writing 655 words about people in same-gender relationships without one good thing to say about us is unacceptable.

By stating that faithfulness within marriage is the only 'normative' context for sex, Resolution 8a imposes a condition that people in faithful same-gender relationships cannot comply with. The implication CoI members in relationships other than marriage are in breach of the Catechism gives legitimacy, for the first time, to excluding lay people in same-gender relationships from Holy Communion.

At the conference on homosexuality in March, some clergy said they refused the sacrament to people in faithful same-gender relationships. The bishops have done nothing to challenge such behaviour, yet claim the right to lecture us about our relationships with the people we love. Resolution 8a provides a pretext to launch witchhunts against gay clergy in liberal dioceses. This has happened to Anglicans in Australia since similar motions were passed in 2004.

Although Resolution 8a has been drafted to say all things to all people, once an official statement of policy is passed, the intentions of its drafters are irrelevant. History is littered with motions and legislation that functioned in ways contrary to the wishes of their drafters.

Nine years ago, our bishops promised to start listening to us. This year, they see fit to table high-handed motions at General Synod, while kicking the promised listening process into touch. Most people would find the idea of beginning a consultation process after passing official policies odd, to say the least.

These resolutions should have been brought through the normal, democratic procedures of the Church of Ireland, but were not. They have been sprung upon members of General Synod, allowing no time for wider debate in the Church.

By doing so, those bishops disrespect our Church's democracy. Putting off this debate for a year, or two, to allow real listening will hardly kill us.



For a full list of signatories see:

Andy Anderson, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Down and Dromore

Peter Campbell, lay Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor

Michael Carchrie Campbell, lay Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor

Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE, lay Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor

Colin Dunlop, lay Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor

Alison Finch, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Dublin and

Glendalough

David Forde, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Cashel and Ossory

John Henry, lay Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor

Gabriel Shijie Kou, Church of Ireland cathedral & parish chorister and

lay member of Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

Gareth Lee, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Derry and Raphoe

Gerry Lynch, lay Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor

Darwin Martin, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Down and Dromore

David McConnell, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Dublin and

Glendalough

Raymond Murray, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Down and Dromore

Senator David Norris, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Dublin

and Glendalough

Brian O’Connor, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Meath and Kildare

Richard O’Leary, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Down and Dromore

Simon Rea, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Down and Dromore

Katherine Rowlandson, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Derry

and Raphoe

Canon Ian Sherwood OBE, Church of Ireland priest serving in the Diocese

of Europe

Andrew Smyth, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Down and Dromore

Stephen Spillane, lay Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne

and Ross

Pam Tilson, lay Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor



Anonymous Church of Ireland member, Diocese of Connor (details supplied)

Anonymous Church of Ireland member, Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough

(details supplied)

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