A retired senior Church of Ireland cleric has called for marriage equality to be made legal. 

Canon Charles Kenny, who retired from St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast in 2000, told the Belfast Telegraph that the Church of Ireland was clouding the Christian message with “bias and literalism”, just as their previous actions had led to sectarianism.

Canon Kenny, 73, said: “The same failings of the Christian Church, and the presentation of the Gospel, which led to sectarianism in the past are playing again now in relation to homophobia.”

He added that many devotees to the Church of Ireland were privately “pro gay”.

As reported by Northern Ireland News, in a statement to the Church of Ireland Gazette, Canon Kenny wrote: “Once again the church is behaving as it did when the issue was slavery, or racialism, the cruel treatment of children born out of wedlock or what amounted to denial of full humanity to the female half of homo sapiens, lack of sympathy for the lower orders, a suspicion of the new ideas of science, and so forth.

“People are puzzled that all this was done in the name of Christ; but many suspect it was more to do with earthly power and control.”

Earlier this year, the Church of Ireland synod opposed marriage equality and said that same-sex partnerships were “not normative”.