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Writer Colm Toibin: The Catholic Church has no authority on same-sex marriage

Joseph McCormick May 21, 2015

Writer Colm Toibin has weighed in one day ahead of Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum to say the Catholic Church “has no moral authority to speak on civil matters”.

The Republic of Ireland is set to vote on Friday, 22 May on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage.

Speaking to Channel 4 news, Toibin, the author of novels such as ‘The Master’, ‘The Story of the Night’ and ‘The Blackwater’, said he thinks it will be “wonderful” if Ireland approves same-sex marriage tomorrow.

He said gay teenagers would be able to say: “Look, you’re embraced by the people of Ireland in a referendum. There is now nothing to stop you being happy. The society has changed in your favour. I think that will be a wonderful day for Ireland.”

Going on, he said the Catholic church was “neutered” on civil and spiritual issues.

He said the church “has no moral authority to speak on civil matters… and I don’t notice them speaking much on spiritual matters, so that they’re sort of neutered”.

Continuing, Toibin said: “This referendum is not a piece of legislation coming from government, from the top, so there’s an argument, or in a way an effort, to persuade the people of Ireland to look at us and say, ‘Actually, these people should be treated decently and these people should not be discriminated against’.”

He asked: “The issue is: what is the difference between my love if you’re gay and your love if you’re not gay that makes my love lesser than yours?”

“And if you think my love is lesser than yours, who have you asked and how do you know? The question is really about degrees of love.”

“And if you’re gay, I think you’re pretty sure in the way you’ve lived your life that actually love for all of us, we’re human, we’re the same, and we would like that to be publically recognised and under our constitution.”

More: civil partnership, civil union, equal marriage, Europe, Gay, gay weddings, Ireland, Ireland, lesbian, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, referendum, same sex weddings, Union, wedding

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