06/08/2015

Call For Free Vote Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

There are reports that two churches in Northern Ireland have called for the region's politicians to be allowed a free vote regarding same-sex marriage.

It is understood representatives from both the Catholic church and Presbyterian church have said party whips should be removed on the issue when it is next debated at Stormont. The move comes just days after the Alliance Party confirmed it was to make support for gay marriage compulsory for candidates running in the 2016 assembly election.
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The Catholic Church has previously voiced its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Father Tim Bartlett said: "These things should be a free vote, as that is more democratic and is more transparent for the electorate."

The Reverend Norman Hamilton, from the Presbyterian Church, is also quoted by the BBC as saying: "We would be very supportive of a vote based on conscience, because conscience matters in a democratic and pluralist society. There has to be a place for dissenting and minority voices."

Northern Ireland is currently the only region within the UK where same-sex marriage not legal.

(JP/MH)

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