01/10/2012

Church Says No To Gay Marriage

Voting in support of gay marriage would mean "demolish(ing) a fundamental building block of society", according to the Presbyterian Church.

The Church has written an emotive, strongly worded letter to the Northern Irish Assembly, ahead of a vote today by MLAs on whether or not same sex couples in Northern Ireland are entitled to have their marriage recognised equally in the eyes of the law.

The motion, which was tabled by Sinn Féin, is being put forward today to decide, in the Assembly’s own revised wording, if "all couples, including those of the same sex, should have the right to marry in the eyes of the State and that, while the rights of religious institutions to define, observe and practise marriage within their beliefs should be given legal protection, all married couples, including those of the same sex, should have the same legal entitlement."

But the Church’s letter argues the matter is "not merely an issue of conscience for Christian people and Christian churches, but a very significant one for the whole of society.

"It would be entirely inappropriate to demolish a fundamental building block of society, such as the historic view of marriage, when such a step is not actually necessary", the letter concludes.

Since 2005 it has been possible to enter into a civil partnership in Northern Ireland. This new proposal has been opposed by the DUP.

Sinn Féin said last night marriage equality is "a human rights issue". A spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph newspaper:

"Every citizen should enjoy the same rights under State law and that includes those in relation to marriage. What churches do is a matter for churches, but the State needs to treat everyone with equality."

(IT)

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