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Church of Ireland Bishop supports ‘yes’ vote in upcoming same-sex marriage referendum

Church of Ireland Bishop supports ‘yes’ vote in upcoming same-sex marriage referendum

Church of Ireland bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory Michael Burrows reiterated his support for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum on May 22.

The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion.

He was speaking at the Marriage Equality: The Religious Case for a Yes Vote on Saturday which was hosted by Faith in Marriage Equality at the school of ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, The Irish Times reported.

Referring to gay rights as ‘the great justice issue of our time’, he said, ‘I have long believed that the churches should take the trajectory of human rights law very seriously – all too often we have allowed ourselves to be left behind defending the essentially indefensible.’

‘The call for same sex marriage is a logical and timely development in the march of law reform and equality.

‘I am convinced that it will be a contribution to a fairer and more truly equal Ireland, and I cannot see any way in which it could be considered repugnant to the common good, or indeed to the vital role of the family.

‘I have come to believe that the rights of gay people have become, very properly, the great justice issue of our time just as the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women were in the past. I could not vote against this proposal because of my utter abomination of homophobia.

‘I have come to feel that homophobia must be fought in our society as an evil.’

In 2012 he along with Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, voted against a Church of Ireland synod motion which confirmed its position rejecting same-sex marriage. However, the motion was still passed.

Trinity College vice-provost Prof Linda Hogan said at the same event that there were no theological impediments to gay people marrying.

‘Theologically speaking, there are no impediments to gay and lesbian people marrying in a civil ceremony,’ the Times quoted her as saying.

‘People of faith can exercise their freedom of conscience to vote yes to lesbian and gay people marrying in a civil ceremony.

‘This debate is being framed as religious people being no voters with everyone else voting yes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People of all faiths support sharing the freedom to marry with gay and lesbian couples.

‘The Christian tradition affirms the fundamental equality and dignity of all people, whether we are heterosexual or gay. Faith leaders should not marginalise or exclude people who are gay rather they should promote equality and inclusion.’