This week the finishing touches were put to a statement from our Leinster Pastors on the controversial subject of same-sex ‘marriage’. It will be distributed this coming week, in good time for the planned Referendum on the 22nd May.
With SSM now legal in the UK (but not N Ireland) and gay unions being recognised in 37 US States the pressure to conform, to what the “big boys” are doing, is considerable.
If you add in the fact that the normal democratic channels for debate have evaporated before the passion of the Gays there are not many opportunities to express dissent.
In the US some members of the Supreme Court, where there is a move afoot to legalise SSM nationwide, have expressed disquiet at the speed with which this has been introduced with little time to examine the consequences surrounding its introduction.
In calling for a NO vote our Statement makes plain that this is not to discriminate against Gays but to preserve the God-given meaning to marriage.
We believe that every human is made in the image of God and is equal in value and dignity. We are firmly against any sort of discrimination or oppression of any person because of their sexual orientation. The love which we have received from God enables us to love and serve all our neighbours. We therefore respect the right of same-sex couples to have their relationship recognised in legislation. However we do not agree with redefining the term ‘marriage’ to include same-sex partnerships. This is not discrimination on our part, but a recognition that marriage is a unique institution.
We believe marriage is God’s gift for a man and a woman. ‘Jesus said, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”’ Matthew chapter 19 verses 4/5.
We celebrate marriage as set out in the Bible; it is the permanent and lifelong union, of one man with one woman. God designed marriage to be the context for children to flourish. Therefore we believe it is best for the wellbeing of children, our society and for our nation to leave the definition of marriage unchanged. This is about the uniqueness of marriage, it is not about the discrimination of same-sex couples. In fact we believe that to redefine marriage would be an act of discrimination against children who may be denied the blessing of having either a Mother or Father.
While we recognise it is possible to have a real marriage without children, and we recognise that many children are brought up in single-parent families, we believe society will flourish best where children develop under the care of both a mother and father.
In our churches we pray regularly for the government of the day believing that God has ordained them to legislate for all citizens. We believe the government has an interest in human flourishing and the stability of society so therefore, we wish to uphold the Constitution’s definition of marriage as it is and would advise a ‘No’ vote as it is wrong to redefine the term ‘marriage’.
The Bible uses the term marriage to describe God’s relationship with his people in the Old Testament. He looks for purity and faithfulness and finds adultery and faithlessness (Hosea). Again in the New Testament the marriage illustration is used. Jesus is the groom and the church is his bride.
In her he looks for purity and faithfulness. He finds the opposite. By God’s grace the bride is made pure and holy derived from Christ’s consecrating sacrifice on the cross.
(Ephesians Chapter 5 verses 25/33).
As a result of God’s grace the redeemed adulterer and the redeemed homosexual can find forgiveness and acceptance kneeling together at the foot of the cross.