Gay rights campaigner and co-founder of Changing Attitude Ireland dies

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Changing Attitude Ireland, the Anglican Church of Ireland’s pro-LGBT group, has announced the death of one of its co-founders, Reverend Mervyn Kingston.

Rev Kingston was a pioneer of the gay Christian movement in Ireland since the early 1980s as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association (NIGRA).

He served in a number of parishes in the Church of Ireland, his final one being as rector of the Creggan and Ballymascanlon (1990-2003) which he retired from in 2003 following a diagnosis of cancer.

In that same year he co-founded Changing Attitude Ireland (CAI) which has campaigned for the full inclusion of LGBT people in churches and for the introduction of civil marriage equality in both parts of Ireland.

Rev Kingston is survived by his partner of 24 years and co-founder of CAI, Dr Richard O’Leary, with whom he entered into civil partnership in 2005.

The funeral service for Rev Kingston was held on Tuesday in County Down.

Family mourners and friends were joined by Jeff Dudgeon of NIGRA, John O Doherty of the Rainbow Community, Bernadine Quinn of Dundalk Outcomers and Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission.

Rev Kingston died on Friday 2 August.