Unclear if minister will face sanctions over gay marriage views

Rev Christina Bradley said the Republic's same-sex marriage referendum was 'about ending discrimination'
Rev Christina Bradley said the Republic's same-sex marriage referendum was 'about ending discrimination'

The Presbyterian Church will discuss the Republic’s referendum decision to back same-sex marriage, but has not yet revealed if a Portadown minister will face sanctions for welcoming the ‘yes’ vote.

Ahead of the Church’s general assembly next week, Rev Christina Bradley said the referendum “wasn’t a debate on the institution of marriage as the basis of human society as we know it” but “about ending discrimination”.

The Armagh Road minister added: “This warm-heartedness is good to see in a world which is often a cold place as much for women in leadership as it is for gay and lesbian people in churches. I welcome the yes vote.”

Rev Bradley’s views are at odds with the official view of her church which is strongly opposed to same-sex marriage.

A spokesman for the Presbyterian Church declined to comment on whether Rev Bradley would face any disciplinary action. However, Rev Trevor Gribben, clerk of the general assembly, said: “I have no doubt that in light of the many of things that have been happening in the public square recently, with our general assembly taking place next week, we will be discussing the referendum and other topics.”

Rev Gribben also said he endorsed the views of Dr Norman Hamilton – that the referendum result was disappointing – and added: “With regard to the referendum, prior to it we outlined our clear position as a church in that ‘we uphold the historic, and Christian, view of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman’ and that any change would be seen as ‘a redefinition of marriage’.”

A number of other church leaders in Portadown have spoken out against Rev Bradley’s view, with one saying, “the Scriptures are clear” on the issue.