Europe

Presbyterian Church sets out same sex marriage opposition

Gay marriage Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A referendum on the issue is to be held in the Republic of Ireland on 22 May.

The Presbyterian Church has set out its opposition to the proposal to allow same sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland.

A referendum on the issue is to be held on 22 May.

The Presbyterian Church said same sex marriage was a denial of the rights of children and "natural responsibilities of a father and mother".

It said the church upheld the Christian view of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.

"A redefinition of marriage would establish new norms within our society, the implications of which have not been fully explored," it added.

"We acknowledge that this is an intensely emotive subject and trust that all will engage in the debate with gentleness and respect as we approach the referendum."

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said the referendum was about tolerance, respect and sensitivity.

He said it created an image of a "tolerant and inclusive Ireland".

Same-sex couples in the Republic of Ireland have been able to enter a civil partnership since January 2011, but not marriage.

The Catholic Church has also set out its opposition to any change in the law ahead of the referendum.

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