Irish Church Minister retracts her support for same-sex marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A Presbyterian Minister in Ireland who initially welcomed the result of the referendum on same-sex marriage, has backed down and said marriage is between one man and one woman.

After the referendum on same-sex marriage – which passed by a landslide earlier this year – Reverend Christina Bradley called those who voted in favour “inclusive and compassionate.”

In doing so, she became the only Presbyterian Minister in Ireland to publicly welcome the ‘yes’ result.

In an interview with the Portadown Times she 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.

“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.”

However, these comments led the Church to establish a special commission to ‘investigate’ her views in relation to same-sex couples and same-sex marriage.

The commission – which released its results last Sunday – concluded that “Mrs Bradley confirmed to Presbytery that she fully accepts… that ‘marriage is to be between one man and one woman’.

“Mrs Bradley also confirms that same-sex marriage is contrary to the will of God revealed in the Bible and accepts that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight.”

The results of the investigation have already been criticised.

Canon Charles Kenny – spokesperson for Ireland’s gay affirming group Faith in Marriage Equality – claimed that “the action of the Church would send a very damaging message to its gay members and make the Presbyterian Church in Ireland an even colder place for them.”

The first same-sex weddings in Ireland are expected to take place before the end of the year.