Canon Charles Kenny of the Church of Ireland and the Revd Chris Hudson of All Souls Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church conveyed their strong support for equal marriage in their meeting at Stormont on Thursday (27th September) with the Green Party MLA Steven Agnew. Steven Agnew has tabled a motion for same sex marriage in the Northern Ireland Assembly to be debated next Monday (Oct 1st).
Canon Kenny, the Secretary of the Church of Ireland group Changing Attitude Ireland said:
Loud disapproval from church spokesmen often greets any suggestion that same sex couples have a right to the same respect, security and legal entitlements enjoyed by male-female couples. But such critics by no means speak for all church people.
There are also many Christians who recognise that loving relationships can obtain between persons of the same sex, who feel that nearly all human beings can be called to relationships of “mutual society, help and comfort that the one ought to have of the other…” (as the Book of Common Prayer puts it), that any truly loving relationship is pleasing to God.
We call on Church people to forego the fundamentalist biblicist argument that led us astray in the past and not to confuse the authority of the Bible with its interpretation.
Behind the denial to a gay or lesbian couple of the right to marry is the belief that their relationship is inferior to a heterosexual one, and objectionable in itself. This we believe to be a cultural assumption rather than a divine instruction. We suggest that in the foreseeable future objectors to same sex marriage will be seen in the same light as those who until fairly recently opposed mixed-race marriage.