Gay marriage vote: Presbyterian Church disappointed at result

Norman Hamilton said the Presbyterian Church was 'deeply disappointed and saddened'
Norman Hamilton said the Presbyterian Church was 'deeply disappointed and saddened'

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has told of its disappointment at the result of the marriage referendum in the Republic.

In a statement, Norman Hamilton, convener of the Church’s Council for Church in Society, said: “We are deeply disappointed and saddened that the Constitution will no longer reflect the historic – and Christian – view of marriage that it is exclusively between one man and one woman; the position the Presbyterian Church in Ireland upholds and maintains.

“The issue before voters was an intensely emotive one and to express the historic view of marriage during the referendum campaign often brought hostility and rejection. We hope that those who continue to uphold this view will not be marginalised or demeaned. We would also encourage all Christians to love their neighbours – as the Bible calls us to do – particularly those with whom we might disagree and if demeaned, to turn the other cheek, for Jesus’ sake.”

Dr Hamilton said “while the result is a significant change for Irish society” the Presbyterian Church “will continue to reach out to all people, whatever their situation, as all are equally welcome”.

He added: “Whilst reaffirming our understanding of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, we pray for wisdom for the government and urge it to consult faith groups over the coming months as it formulates the necessary subsequent legislation.”

Meanwhile, the result does not change how the Church of Ireland “defines marriage as between a man and a woman”.

In a statement the archbishops and bishops of the Church of Ireland moved to affirm “that the people of the Republic of Ireland, in deciding by referendum to alter the state’s legal definition of marriage, have of course acted fully within their rights”.

They said the church “has often existed, in history, with different views from those adopted by the state”.

“Marriage services taking place in a Church of Ireland church, or conducted by a minister of the Church of Ireland may – in compliance with church teaching, liturgy and canon law – continue to celebrate only marriage between a man and a woman,” it added.

The statement urged “a spirit of public generosity” on both sides of the debate.