Church ministers ordered to read anti-gay marriage ‘affirmation’ at every straight wedding
The Irish Presbyterian Church has ordered its ministers to read a statement opposing same-sex marriage at every single heterosexual wedding ceremony from now on.
Same-sex weddings began in the Republic of Ireland last year, after the country voted overwhelmingly to approve equal marriage in a public referendum despite strong religious opposition.
However, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland – the country’s largest Protestant denomination – appears unwilling to move on from the issue.
According to the Irish Times, the clerk of the Church’s General Assembly, Rev Trevor Gribben had backed a resolution directing Church officials to add an anti-gay marriage statement to all Presbyterian wedding ceremonies, with no exceptions.
The statement reads: “Since the beginning of creation God, in his gracious purpose, provided marriage as the accepted way in which a man and a woman may come together as husband and wife.
“This is the only basis on which marriage can take place within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.”
As the Church operates across both the Republic and Northern Ireland, the statement will be mandatory in Northern Ireland too… even though same-sex marriage is not yet legal there anyway.
It is unclear what, if any, legal benefit the Church thinks the statement will give, as they already have a legal right to not perform same-sex weddings.
There is no documented case anywhere in the world of a religious authority that opposes same-sex marriage being forced to perform one.
The pro-LGBT lobby say the statement will serve no purpose aside from offending and potentially alienating people who attend wedding ceremonies.
But Watts claims it will help to “protect freedom of religious practice” and “ensure the position of the churches be maintained and protected.”