Ahead of the Republic’s referendum on legalising gay marriage next month, the Presbyterian Church has reaffirmed its commitment to the existing “one man one woman” matrimony only.
Presbyterian leaders have said they are upholding the “Christian” view of marriage for the “common good of society”.
The Catholic church has already spoken out against the prospect of the state legalising gay marriage following a ‘yes’ vote.
The proposed amendment to the Irish constitution states: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the May 22 referendum would underline Ireland’s reputation as a tolerant and inclusive nation.
In a statement issued this morning, the Presbyterian church said: “The Presbyterian Church in Ireland upholds the historic – and Christian – view of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.
“We affirm that it is needed for the common good of society. In recognising the rights of all people within a democracy, we must include the rights of children, and the natural responsibilities of a father and a mother in their nurture.
“We believe the change proposed in the referendum denies these rights. A redefinition of marriage would establish new norms within our society, the implications of which have not been fully explored.”
The statement goes on to say: “We acknowledge that this is an intensely emotive subject and trust that all will engage in the debate with gentleness and respect as we approach the referendum.”