THE new marriage laws in England and Wales have been given a
mixed reception in Ireland.
After the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales, the
Evangelical Alliance (EA) in Northern Ireland welcomed the fact
that the Province retained the old law, after its Assembly rejected
a motion to extend same-sex marriage to its jurisdiction.
The EA's public-policy officer, David Smyth, said: "Christian
opposition to same-sex marriage was never just about protecting
churches. It's always been about the well-being and welfare of
family and communities for generations to come."
Welcoming the new laws, however, the Anglican organisation
Changing Attitude Ireland (CAI), which campaigns for gay rights,
said through its chairman, Dr Richard O'Leary: "We are concerned
that the many gay and lesbian Anglicans who migrate between Britain
and Ireland will find that the different marriage provisions cause
CAI had, only weeks ago, criticised the failure of the C of I
Select Committee on Sexuality to invite any self-identifying gay or
lesbian to join the forum, which is charged with "enabling the
listening, dialogue and learning process" on all aspects of
sexuality in the context of Christian belief.
Pam Tilson, a churchwarden at St George's, Belfast, and a
lesbian, told the committee that the Church should reflect on why
the gay, lesbian, and bisexual members among the more than 600
members of the General Synod from which the committee was drawn
were fearful of coming out as gay in the church environment. She
called on the Church of Ireland "to confront the problem of
homophobia in the Church".
Another speaker, the Rector of St Catherine's, Dublin, Canon
Mark Gardner, spoke of the discrimination against gay C of I
ordinands and clergy.
Last week, the Church of Ireland Select Committee on Sexuality
issued a statement saying that it had "decided to establish an
advisory panel which can draw more widely from the Church, and will
include self-identifying LGBT people as well as academics".
Ms Tilson was contacted by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Revd
John Mann, who chairs the committee, and asked to join the advisory
panel, which she agreed to do.
Marriage poll in south.
A new survey suggests that almost 70 per cent of voters in the
Republic of Ireland would support legislation allowing same-sex
marriage, when its government holds a referendum on the issue next
The findings of an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll, using a
sample of 1000 people aged 18 and above, suggest that same-sex
marriage is more likely to be acceptable among younger voters -
approval declining steadily in line with age.
Eighty per cent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 were in
favour, whereas 44 per cent aged 65 or above were in favour, and
women, at 73 per cent approval, were more in favour than men, at 61