The Presbyterian General Assembly has been urged to uphold the traditional view of marriage in the run-up to the Irish Republic's referendum on same-sex unions.
A former Moderator, the Reverend Dr Norman Hamilton, said: "Once again there is a loud silence across so much of our society as to how to strengthen the historic institution of marriage and the healthy family life that we would all wish would normally accompany it."
He said no-one should be treated or feel like a second-class citizen. He added:"My invitation is to all those in public life who share our desire to promote our historic understanding of marriage and family life to get in touch for a purposeful conversation as to how best to do this."
The Reverend John Faris, minister of Cork Trinity said: "I also hope that this referendum will be debated without those in favour of traditional marriage being thereby categorised and demonised as 'homophobic'. The Assembly accepted a resolution supporting the traditional view of marriage and requested that everyone involved in the debate should speak with 'gentleness and respect'."