Breda O’Brien says gay people who want to live a Christian way of life should abstain from sex.
Ms O’Brien, who received damages from Irish broadcaster RTE after being labelled a “homophobe” by drag artist Panti Bliss, is a columnist for the Irish Times and patron of the Iona Institute, which advocates for conservative Catholic values. She has previously strongly opposed same-sex marriage.
The Republic of Ireland is set to vote on May 22 on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Ms O’Brien was asked to clarify her views. She said she believed gay people should abstain from sex: “If you can live up to this very demanding thing, I think it will make you happy.
“It will be excruciatingly difficult – I think you will need huge support, huge help, lots of very strong, loving relationships.
“Knowing that you are loved by God and that you are valued. Sometimes giving something up can lead to other kinds of happiness.
“You would have to be a very unselfish person to do that and I think very good people have great capacity for joy and happiness.
“To be sexually attracted to people is obviously completely natural and gay people can love as much as anyone else. But if you are looking as nature intended, I think that sex is very bound up with having children.”
She also said that while straight people can have sex for reasons other than having children – such as “bonding and pleasure and expressing love” – she did not believe the same was true of same-sex couples.
“I think there is a complementarity between men and women that.. that is, you know, it is everywhere. It is in eastern symbolism, you know the Yin and the Yang, the male and the female and there is a ‘uniqueness’ about that relationship.”