Church of Ireland faces north-south divide over gay marriage stance

May 8, 2017 by

by Alf McCreary, Belfast Telegraph.

A north-south divide emerged within the Church of Ireland last night as Synod members voted down a proposal to change its attitude to same-sex unions.

The annual gathering rejected the motion to soften its stance and understanding on same-sex marriage, and its relationships with members of the gay and lesbian community. However it has tasked the Bishops with examining the further theological differences, with a view to proposing a way forward.

After a wide ranging and moving two-hour debate at the annual meeting in Limerick, the governing General Synod voted by 176 to 146 to reject the motion, which was aimed at developing a public thanksgiving service for legally married same-sex couples. There were 24 abstentions.

The breakdown was as follows-clergy 56 for, and 72 against; laity 90 for and 104 against. There were nine clergy and 15 laity abstentions.

Almost every speaker against the motion was from Northern Ireland with Rev Trevor Johnston of Connor diocese describing the motion as “impossible” adding that “inbuilt into it is discrimination against those who didn’t act on their same sex attraction”.

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