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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 23 April, 2014

Gay rights groups welcome marriage referendum plan, Catholic Bishops don’t

The Bishop of Kildare says that the issue is “not about equality”, but Alan Shatter says that people should not be discriminated against because of their sexuality.

Image: Ashleigh Bennett via Flickr/Creative Commons

THE BISHOP OF Kildare and Leighlin says that the same-sex marriage debate is “not about equality”.

Bishop Denis Nulty says that the issue is about “the very nature of marriage itself and the importance society places on the role of mothers and fathers in bringing up children”.

Nulty says that the Catholic Church will continue to argue that children “have a right to a mother and father”.

He said that marriage between a man and a woman has a “special benefit” to society.

“To change the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of our society,” said Nulty.

He added that while Christians would treat homosexuals with “sensitivity, compassion and respect”, it was not homophobic to oppose gay marriage.

“It is not lacking in sensitivity or respect for people who are homosexual however to point out that same-sex relationships are fundamentally different from opposite sex relationships and that society values the complementary roles of mothers and fathers in the generation and up-bringing of children.”

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), however said that they were “delighted” by the cabinet’s announcement that a vote on the issue will take place in 2015.

““We are delighted with the Taoiseach’s announcement of his strong support for civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples. It is a momentous and proud moment when our Taoiseach and the leader of our country endorses and supports full citizenship in the Constitution through civil marriage for lesbian and gay people” said GLEN Chair Kieran Rose

With the support of the Taoiseach and of Labour and Fine Gael in Government, and with the support of the other Political Parties, we believe that the people of Ireland will support the final step to full constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people and families in the referendum in 2015.

The Justice Minister this morning said that he didn’t believe that people should be discriminated against because of their sexuality.

Alan Shatter told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the decision was “historic” and that it was a “good news story”.

“I don’t think anyone would be surprised by the views of the church. The church is entitled to express its views. It is for us as politicians to address what is happening in reality in society.”

Column: Let’s see a vigorous, successful campaign for marriage equality

Read: Same-sex marriage vote to be one of a number of referendums to be held in 2015

Read: ‘We’ve come a long way in this country’ – Cabinet to discuss same-sex marriage

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