Belfast Telegraph

David Ford speaks out over difficulty in balancing same sex marriage support with Christian beliefs

By Claire McNeilly

David Ford has spoken of the difficulty he faces in balancing his party’s support for same sex marriage with his Presbyterian beliefs.

The leader of the Alliance Party said his personal position on same sex marriage is in line with his party as he admitted this stance had caused difficulties within his congregation.

The MLA compared the debate over gay marriage to the civil rights campaign in Northern Ireland 50 years ago.

Mr Ford, who stepped aside as a church elder over his support for same-sex unions, said the language of the debate must be examined.

“I think it's not for majorities to tell minorities that feel discriminated against that they're not being discriminated against,” he told the BBC's Sunday Sequence.

“I think you only have to look back at the history of this region in the 1950s and 60s to see the dangers of majorities telling minorities that discrimination isn't real.”

Last September, the Alliance Party voted in support of legislation to allow gay civil marriage in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ford voluntarily stepped aside as an elder in Second Donegore Presbyterian Church near Templepatrick after some members of the congregation expressed concerns about his support for marriage equality laws.

The church is due to consider his position on the issue.

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