COI for constitutional change to protect same sex relationships

The Church of Ireland has said the Irish constitution should broaden the definition of family and recognise same-sex unions and cohabitating couples.

Sam Harper, honorary secretary of the General Synod, said the definition of the family had changed. The family protected at present by the Constitution was the family based on marriage, and he encouraged the adoption of the UN definition of the family, which was much wider.

“We feel strongly that there should be State care for all those in mutual relationships. We believe in the balance of rights for the unit,” said Sam Harper, honorary secretary of the General Synod.

However, he said they did not recognise marriage for gay couples.

“While we favour the inclusion of gay couples in the broad definition, it could not in our view be considered a marriage, and we would not want the review to go beyond the point where it makes it a disadvantage to be married,” he said.

The Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church both don’t want any change to Article 41 until all legislative options have been exhausted while the Reformed Presbyterians urged for the retention of the current article, stating a family should be defined as compromising a man and woman in a legally binding agreement of marriage.

Is this further evidence of the Church of Ireland’s attitudes being closer to the general view of today’s Irish public than the Roman Catholic Church or a further diluting of traditional Christian views?

Are these views consistent with the views of members of the Church of Ireland north of the border?
Full Article 41

  • Young Fogey

    Makes me proud to be CofI!

  • Davros

    Are these views consistent with the views of members of the Church of Ireland north of the border?

    Probably. Although it’s hard to say how consistent the views of the C of I are with it’s members on either side of the border.

  • maca

    Isn’t this pretty much along the same lines as what was discussed back in November 04? Remember – greater rights for gay couples?

    “Is this further evidence of the Church of Ireland’s attitudes being closer to the general view of today’s Irish public than the Roman Catholic Church or a further diluting of traditional Christian views?”

    What is the general view of today’s Irish public?

  • Young Fogey

    This Northern CofI member thinks it’s great – although I disagree insofar as I think we should have gay marriage both civil and, as far as the CofI goes, religious. Other religious bodies can decide for themselves.

    Why are Northerners always assumed to be knuckle-dragging neanderthals by the Southern media?

  • Davros

    YF- was the “Northern” question from the media or from George? Reading the Article Linked, it was apparent that there was some Northern Input – the Bishop of Clogher.

  • maca

    “Why are Northerners always assumed to be knuckle-dragging neanderthals by the Southern media?”

    You mean you’re NOT knuckle-dragging neanderthals? πŸ˜‰

  • Young Fogey

    Good for Michael Jackson! (No, not that one.)

  • Young Fogey

    You mean you’re NOT knuckle-dragging neanderthals? πŸ˜‰

    I’ll bate your ballicks in if you keep that slabberin up, Maca! πŸ˜‰

  • Davros

    You mean you’re NOT knuckle-dragging neanderthals?

    well, not all of us πŸ˜‰

  • maca

    I’ll bate ya so hard yer grandkids will have bruises! πŸ˜‰

  • maca

    Present company excluded Dav, except Fogey who’s just cruising for a bruising πŸ™‚

  • David Cather

    It’s sad when a church is so desperate to fit in with modern society that it stops defending what it used to believe in. If you believe something is good you should stand up for it whether it’s popular in todays world or not.

  • Young Fogey

    In that spirit, David, I look forward to the Church defending the fine old Christian institution of slavery (see the letter of Philemon).

  • Circles

    “It’s sad when a church is so desperate to fit in with modern society that it stops defending what it used to believe in”

    What kind of nonsense is that? What exactly is the church about in your opinion David? If you ask me, it should be the churches that drive the modern agenda, constantly questioning what is perceived as good or bad and evaluating that in the context in which we live. To stubbornly hold on to beliefs that are centuries old and that are based more on the idea of domination and servitude may be what churches do well these days – but its certainly not christian.
    Jesus threw the traders out of the temple. Jesus befriended gentiles and treated them as equals. Jesus was an extremely revolutionary character (easier for a camle to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven – how revolutionary is that? so much for the neo-liberal free marketeers – they won’t be needing warm clothes where they’re going ;o))
    Hanging on to dogma for no other reason than the fear of change (and loss of control) is a nasty habit of established religion.

  • George

    David Carther,
    looks like you are the only poster so far who goes with the dilution of Christian values line.
    Personally, I have some sympathy for your case.

    Contradictory as this is, sometimes I think Christian Churches should leave these matters to the state and concentrate on their own longstanding teachings but most times I am like Circles and want Christian Churches to try and get more involved as drivers of the social change demanded by modern society.

    Surely God will always find a place in his heart for love? As the bible says, there are three things that last forever: Faith, hope, and love;
    But the greatest of them all is love. Extra-marital love is still love.

    Either way I’ve still a lot of respect for the Churches as, in many cases in Western Europe today their members are among the only true revolutionaries left fighting the battle for the rights of the vulnerable, despised and dispossessed.

  • Nathan

    I think Charles Stewart Parnell said a few wise words when he remarked that No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country, “Thus far shalt thou go and no further.” And we have never attempted to fix the ‘ne plus ultra’ to the progress of Ireland’s nationhood, and we never shall.

    In this vein, I’d like to say that constitutional change is the equitable way forward, because in comparision to other Western European nations, Ireland does not have legislation in place that will allow homosexual, co-cohabiting couples the same rights granted to married couples. As a minimum, same sex couples should be entitled to inheritance rights, the right to be recognised as next of kin, a chance to publicly proclaim their commitment to one another and so on.

    ps) If you don’t mind Mick, I’m giving a shameless plug to the Irish Angle
    weblog. The guys who run this COI outlet have already covered the contested issue posed above.

  • David Cather

    You don’t drive the modern agenda by trying to appeal to whatever is the most popular sentiment in the wider public. You drive the agenda by promoting ideas that others want to ignore and which would be ignored if it wasn’t for your voice speaking out.

    To stubbornly hold on to beliefs that are centuries old

    Are the teachings of Christianity absolute truths? Because if they are what is true doesn’t change from one generation to the next. If something was a crime 2000 years ago why should it not be a crime now?

    People are always saying the Church needs to change and it does! It needs to change how it presents its message, ( 300 year old hymns perhaps don’t excite people today.) But it cannot change its teaching. Worldwide days of prayer or guitars and drums!! in church instead of the old organ are all ways the church can reach a new generation. But if we change the teachings of right and wrong are we still the Christian Church or are we something else?