St John’s and St Mary’s Churches, Pentecost, 24th May 2015
The Rector spoke to the congregations before Services began.
As you all well know , we had a Referendum on Friday when 62% of the population of this country voted to allow Same Sex Marriage.
I want to speak about it for just one minute as there still seems to be some confusion about State Law and Church Law.
Everything has changed and nothing has changed.
This referendum was a vote about equal civil marriage in a secular republic and NOT about what goes on in churches.
In the Church of Ireland, under our canon laws, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman and the result of the referendum doesn’t change this.
When I was ordained almost 10 years ago, I was asked the question ‘Will you accept the discipline of this Church and give due respect to those set over you in the Lord’
to which I replied ‘By the help of God, I will’
This is still the case, regardless of my personal views,
I accept the discipline of the Church laws.
Church Law means that I cannot marry a couple unless one of them is an Anglican, or from a denomination in communion with the Anglican communion.
Church Law means that I cannot marry a couple if they want the ceremony to be out on the beach , or in the wood, it must be conducted in a church.
Church Law means that I cannot marry a couple unless one of them is female and one of them is male.
You all know well my views on Same Sex Marriage, I welcome it in our civil society.
I have made no secret of my views in conversation with many of you but I have never spoken about my views from the pulpit.
When anyone asked me privately how they should vote, my answer was always that the important thing was TO vote and I thank God that the turnout on Friday was so high.
I am saying all this to you because there seemed to be still some confusion among many of you about what will now happen.
What will happen within our church is that we will continue as we were……Talking about what is happening in Society around us, …..trying to discern what the Holy Spirit is telling us , …..and moving forward, together,
as a church community.
But for this moment, things remain as they were, at least within the institution of the Church of Ireland , where this debate is really only beginning and where we are all part of this conversation, regardless of whether we voted yes or no on Friday.