Woman Presbyterian Minister backs same-sex marriage vote

100 year old, Mrs Sally Anderson with Rev Rob Craig, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and Rev Christine Bradley, Armagh Road Church. INPT36-128gc

100 year old, Mrs Sally Anderson with Rev Rob Craig, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and Rev Christine Bradley, Armagh Road Church. INPT36-128gc

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A Portadown Presbyterian minister has welcomed the ‘yes’ vote for same-sex marriages in the Republic of Ireland.

The Rev Christina Bradley of Armagh Road Presbyterian Church – in giving a personal view to the Portadown Times – has described the 62 per cent majority as “inclusive and compassionate, thus aiming at ending possible discrimination, and starting to treat everyone the same, whatever their sexual orientation”.

Her response is in contrast to reactions from the main churches in Portadown. High-ranking Methodists, Church of Ireland people and Roman Catholics back official statements from their all-Ireland leaders. But Mrs Bradley disagrees with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) which is “deeply disappointed at the result (of the referendum).2

A statement from ex-Moderator Norman Hamilton said, “The Constitution (of the Republic) will no longer reflect the historic – and Christian – view of marriage that it is exclusively between one man and one woman, which is the position the PCI upholds and maintains.”

Mrs 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.

“Who is the state and who is the church in a democratic society? It is the people. The people (of the Republic) have voted by an overwhelming 62.1 per cent majority to be inclusive and compassionate.

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

But other local church leaders are disappointed. Kenneth Twyble is the leading lay reader of the Methodist Church in Ireland. He is second in line to the president, the Rev Peter Murray, who said, “The referendum result is not compatible with what we recognise as the basis of Christian marriage, which is between a man and a woman. Our practice remains that no minister has the authority to conduct the marriage of same-sex partners.”

Mr Twyble commented, “I agree whole-heartedly with the president’s statement. It is based on the Scriptures, and is released with compassion and understanding.”

Portadown Parish Rector, Canon Jim Campbell said, “The Scriptures are clear in their opposition not only to homosexuality, but also to adultery and fornication. It is true that the Church of Ireland is divided north and south on same sex marriage, with at least one bishop from the Republic confirming that he voted yes. But these difficulties will have to be faced.”