Belfast Telegraph

Presbyterian Church sticks to its position on gay marriage despite plea to think again

By Alf McCreary

The Presbyterian Church is sticking to its position on same-sex marriage despite a call from the daughter of a former senior minister to think again.

Alison Morrow - the daughter of Dr John Morrow, a former Corrymeela leader and Presbyterian chaplain at Queen's - is a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage.

In her interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Morrow hit out at the judgmental attitudes of some people towards same-sex relationships, and she revealed that her uncle Kenneth had been gay and had died from Aids.

"My mother Shirley felt the great pain of mourning for her brother, and also more pain because she felt unable to tell people that he was gay and had died from Aids," she said.

Ms Morrow said that both her parents, who are now dead, would have supported her appearance at a rally in support of same-sex marriages on Saturday.

"I know that my father John progressively changed his views about same-sex relationships. He became extremely tolerant and he was aware that sexual orientation is not a chalice, and that when we exclude people because of their sexuality, that is very painful for them," she said.

Ms Morrow also claimed that there was "dissent among a number of committed, church-attending Presbyterians who feel that they are being silenced".

"They believe that there is little room for debate within the Church on same-sex issues, and that people are expected to toe the party line, This goes very much against the dissenting tradition of Presbyterianism. I want the Irish Presbyterian Church to open up this debate, not close it down," she added.

In response, a Presbyterian Church spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph: "The debates that we had during our General Assembly earlier this month around same-sex marriage and related issues were respectful and gracious.

"These discussions were framed within the historic and biblical position that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has taken, which is that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman. Within that context a range of views were expressed."

It added: "We have to be the Church that Christ wants us to be, firmly holding to a biblical position and yet being a place that welcomes people who are living in all kinds of relationships that the Bible says are sinful, heterosexual and homosexual alike."

Ministers and laity on both sides of the argument were unwilling to go on the record about Ms Morrow's remarks yesterday.

Those on the traditional wing pointed to the Church's teaching, while those on the more liberal wing were supportive of Ms Morrow.

Belfast Telegraph

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