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Catholic Bishops warn Ireland: Don’t legalize gay marriage

Catholic Bishops warn Ireland: Don’t legalize gay marriage

The Irish Bishops Conference (IBC) issued a stern warning to Ireland’s government not to legalize gay marriage or else the Catholic Church will no longer work with the state in solemnizing marriages.

In addition the IBC said that by legalizing marriage equality it would reduce marriage to an ‘arrangement of the sexual relationship of any two people’ endangering the family and society.

The warning was submitted by the IBC to Ireland’s Constitutional Convention, which is considering the issue of gay marriage.

The bishops’ stance would affect the thousands of weddings that take place in churches every year.

In their 10-page submission, IBC said that any change to the ‘definition’ of marriage would mean the Church could no longer co-operate with the State, which will affect 70% of marriages performed in Ireland.

For a wedding to be legally recognized in Ireland, it must be solemnized by a person on the register of solemnizes. About 4,300 of the 5,600 people on the register are Catholic priests.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church told the Irish Examiner: ‘At the moment on behalf of the State, the priest acts as the solemnizer of the marriage between a woman and a man.

‘Obviously if the definition of marriage changes then this role will change’.

IBC also stated that say marriage is not merely a ‘private institution’, but ‘a social institution has evolved mainly for the benefit of children’.

They also alleged that ‘a substantial body of research’ (which has been scientifically discredit) shows ‘the best outcomes for a child are most likely to be found where a child has two parents, a father and a mother, who are bound to each other in a stable marriage’.

IBC concluded that if marriage equality would be legalized, ‘marriage would be reduced to an arrangement of the sexual relationship of any two people. It would cease to be the institution upon which the family, and therefore society itself, is founded’.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) said they respected the freedom to practice religion and were not seeking to force religious solemnizers to carry out same-sex marriages, if they do not wish to do so. 

A Glen spokesperson also stated that: ‘Our laws must protect and cherish all children equally, in whatever family form that they are born into, nurtured and raised within’.

The organization estimated that the submissions are about 3:1 in favor of extending access to civil marriage to same-sex couples.