The introduction of same-sex marriages in England and Wales is “concerning” for many Christians, a group which represents evangelicals has said.
Saturday saw the first gay marriages in England and Wales under the new law, but Northern Ireland retains the old law after the Assembly rejected a motion to extend same-sex marriage to the Province.
David Smyth, public policy officer at Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, said: “While Saturday was a day of celebration for some, it was a concerning day for many.
“Christian opposition to same-sex marriage was never just about protecting churches. It’s always been about the wellbeing and welfare of family and communities for generations to come.
“The whole idea of ‘equal’ marriage comes from a premise that many outrightly reject, that marriage is an inequality to be corrected.”
He added: “This change in marriage law was argued on the grounds of equality and love.
“What about ‘equal marriage’ for the bisexual person who is ‘banned’ from being able to marry both their male and female partners?”
But the Anglican group Changing Attitude Ireland, which campaigns for gay rights, welcomed the change.
Its chairman, Richard O’Leary, said: “We hope that marriage equality will be extended to Northern Ireland and introduced in the Republic of Ireland without undue delay.
“We are concerned that the many gay and lesbian Anglicans who migrate between Britain and Ireland will find that the different marriage provisions cause legal difficulties.”
A spokesman for the Irish Presbyterian Church said that it “continues to fully support the retention of the present legal definition of marriage in Northern Ireland as ‘the permanent and lifelong union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others’.”
He added: “While the change in legislation in England and Wales is bound to increase the pressure for such a development in Northern Ireland, the Presbyterian Church continues to stand with other churches and fellow Christians in seeking to retain the present definition and opposing any change to a fundamental building block of society.”