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Irish synod votes not to apologise and give public prayer for gay couples

Irish synod votes not to apologise and give public prayer for gay couples

By Tola Mbakwe
May 8, 2017

The Church of Ireland's General Synod has voted not to apologise to gay couples who didn't receive support when celebrating their marriage.

A motion at its recent meeting asked the synod to "acknowledge the injury felt by members of the Church who enter into loving, committed and legally-recognised, same-sex relationships, due to the absence of provision for them to mark that key moment in their lives publicly and prayerfully in Church."

The second part of the motion requested "the House of Bishops to investigate a means to develop sensitive, local pastoral arrangements for public prayer and thanksgiving with same-sex couples at these key moments in their lives, and to present their ideas to General Synod 2018, with a view to making proposals at General Synod 2019."

When Dr Leo Kilroy proposed the motion on Friday, he spoke of the chance to bring unity to the church.

He said: "Advances in civic society in recent years have seen LGBT people achieve many rights and legal protections, including, frameworks for legal union. But many lesbian and gay people continue feel gravely hurt by the Church.

"They have been injured by the lack of compassion shown by some, who cling to a small number of disparate and disputed verses that exist in pockets of the Bible, and claim a divine rejection of gay people".

Dr Kilroy also discussed his experience as a gay man and his struggle with rejection by Christians and lack of support during his union.

He continued: "This motion is not asking for marriage in the Church. I understand that many of you hold the Church's definition of marriage dearly.

"This motion is careful to protect Canon 31. It is simply calling for permission to develop ways to publicly and pastorally support and celebrate lesbian and gay people at important times in their lives."

Those who opposed the motion described it as impossible because it would bring division in the church and would discriminate against those who experience same-sex attraction but don't act on it.

They also said the motion was against Canon 31, which upholds traditional teachings on marriage in the Church of Ireland.

A yes vote would have sent the motion to the House of Bishops for a final vote. However, 72 clergy opposed, 56 supported. Of the laity 104 opposed and 90 were in support.


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