Cleric calls for north-south split on gay marriage

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An openly gay Church of Ireland minister has called for a split between north and south due to “seismic differences of theological understanding” separating the two regions.

In response to the Republic’s referendum on same-sex marriage, Portadown-born Rev Tom Gordon, the Dean of Leighlin in Co Carlow, said the ‘yes’ vote has resulted in a crisis within the church.

The Rev Gordon caused considerable controversy in 2011 when he entered into a civil partnership – leading the General Synod to set up a select committee to consider matters of sexuality.

Writing in the latest edition of the Church of Ireland Gazette, he said a “reality check” could emerge and added: “If the Church of Ireland in the Republic is to survive, it may be time for us to reflect on the seismic differences which now exist between the church’s southern and northern constituencies.”

Meanwhile, in a break with a long-held tradition, the Presbyterian General Assembly last night voted 99-84 not to send its Moderator, the Rev Dr Ian McNie, to next year’s General Assembly of the Church of Scotland as a fraternal guest.

The move is seen as a protest against the Scottish church’s decision to recognise gay ministers within that church.