Belfast Telegraph

Outspoken minister backs equal marriage vote in Republic

By Joanne Sweeney

An outspoken female Presbyterian minister has backed the equal marriage referendum victory in the Republic.

Rev Christine Bradley from Co Armagh - who was once barred from taking the pulpit at Portadown First Presbyterian Church - welcomed the Yes vote last week as a way of ending discrimination.

The minister of Armagh Road Presbyterian Church, Portadown, is at odds once more with her Church's leadership, which still upholds marriage to be between a man and a woman.

Mrs Bradley, who has also spoken out against gender bias in her Church, asked: "Who is the State and who is the Church in a democratic society? It is the people.

"The people (of the Republic) have voted by an overwhelming 62.1% majority to be inclusive and compassionate.

"The referendum wasn't a debate on the institution of marriage as the basis of human society as we know it, but about ending discrimination," she told the Portadown Times.

"This warm-heartedness is good to see in a world which often is a cold place as much for women in leadership as it is for gay and lesbian people in churches. I welcome the Yes vote."

"I want to see healing come to the parish now and this move offers the best opportunity for that to happen. I believe God called me to Knocknamuckley and I still feel called to minister in the Craigavon area."

Rev Alan Kilpatrick

"We are happy he is leaving. But we are disappointed that the church and congregation is being split as a result. It's no victory for anybody."

Spokeswoman, Knocknamuckley Concerned Parishioners

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