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Ireland: Gay Anglicans reiterate calls for same-sex marriage

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  1. Ireland needs to avoid the mistake that the UK has made so far i.e. by allowing religious groups to think that civil marriage equality has anything to do with them.

    In the UK this mistake – letting religions think their opinion on marriage is in any way relevant to civil marriage equality – has allowed religion to unleash a torrent of hatred and bigotry.

    So while this submission by the pro-gay group is well meaning, it should not be afforded any more respect than the opinion of the Irish Stampcollectors’ Association on civil marriage.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 29 Mar 2013, 5:56pm

      Well, catholicism isn’t really the state religion in the republic, there is no provision for it even though it dominates, whereas ours is established and forms part of the government in the Lords, big difference. If the CoE weren’t established in the UK, there would have been less hateful rhetoric I think.

      1. Happily the catholic church’s days of domination are over in Ireland.

        The reaction of the public to the reports into the child abuse and the cover-up by the catholic clergy and hierarchy was one of horror and revulsion.

        It’s finished as a force (even though most catholics would probably still regard themselves as catholic – just willing to ignore anything the hierarchy tells them.

      2. Pavlos Prince of Greece 29 Mar 2013, 7:22pm

        Well, Italy and Poland have no state religion too. And so Russia … At least now.

  2. Also it’s worth pointing out that the Anglican Church in the Republic Ireland is a fairly minor (in terms of numbers) religion (only about 5% of the population are Angilcan I believe.

    Catholicism is by far the largest religion.

    And catholicism is regarded with almost universal disgust in Ireland after the government released the reports into child sexual abuse by the catholic clergy over the past 60 years.

    The catholic hierarchy will be opposed to equality, but will be ignored as it is not liked or trusted by the population.

    It would be a massive own goal for the anglicans and the other pro-equality people to create a situation whereby religious opinion is sought out on civil marriage equality.

    1. Steve, the Church of Ireland is not pro-equality. That’s why CAI exists.

      You can bet that the CofI will be submitting an anti-marriage letter, just like the CofE did in England (if they haven’t already). CAI is not bringing the churches into this – they are trying to show that religious opinion is not monolithically opposed.

  3. Helen in Ireland 29 Mar 2013, 11:34pm

    Today the Catholic bishops here basically THREATENED the constitutional convention, saying that if same-sex marriage went ahead they would be forced to step back from performing the civil part of the marriage service in ALL wedding masses. That is, the bit where the bride and groom go off to sign the register, while someone plays nice music.

    Unfortunately, priests form at least 2/3rd of the people who can legally register a marriage in Ireland. If there was truly a separation of civl and religious marriage (as in certain countries including France) it would be a hugh financial expense for the country to increase the number of civil registrars. I think most people would welcome that separation but the logistics would be a nightmare.

    This is the Bishops showing their true and ugly face. In Spain, Portugal and Argentina there has been no similar move to drop the civil component despite full marriage equality in those countries, and the priests there still sign the register!

    1. Separating the ceremonies is a hit in the blogosphere, and would be an excellent job creation scheme. The church is also being disingenuous; Irish priests continued weddings even after divorce was legalised, and could do so after equal marriage too, with similar exemptions from the general requirements on registrars. And as you say, priests in Spain act as civil registrars and are still doing so.

      So it’s possible that this is a losing argument – in which case the church may back down.

      But for many ordinary referendum voters, this creates doubt and confusion, and the threat of extra expense. I fear this is a smart move from the Church.

      Fortunately there is a simple solution. Ireland can easily change the law to recognise religious weddings as creating civil marriages, in the same way as England and Scotland do. This will save straight Catholic couples the expense of two ceremonies, and remove this talking point.

  4. Changing Attitude Ireland is not a Church of Ireland group.

    It is an ecumenical group, with a mission to “seek full acceptance and welcome for [LGBT] persons in the Churches in Ireland”, i.e. all Christian churches in Ireland.

    CAI’s primary focus has been on the Church of Ireland. The CofI is the second-largest Christian denomination in Ireland and the only one within which a change in position seems conceivable at present.

    This submission is important because it gives the lie to the often-repeated claim that marriage equality is a “gays vs Christians” issue. There are gay Christians, and there are straight Christian allies. People of faith disagree about marriage equality. CAI’s submission will remind the constitutional convention of this fact.

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