Archbishop says civil partnership not enough

Civil partnership does not go far enough in fully recognising the love of gay and lesbian people, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.

He said the forthcoming referendum is not just a political issue, not just about individuals, it’s about something that is very important for social cohesion in our society and to change it within a very rapid period of time is something we should really think about.

“We have to find ways in which gay and lesbian people can have their love fully recognised in an equal but different manner,” said Archbishop Martin. “We have to find ways of examining that and I don’t think we have done that far enough. I think civil partnership is not adequate, I think it could be tweaked.”

He said he understood why gay and lesbian people would not trust him when he said we have to find ways to have their love fully recognised in an equal but different manner.

He admitted the Church has treated gays and lesbians in a “harsh and hostile way”.

“Am I happy voting no? The answer is that I am not happy. I don’t think that simply voting no is going to find the answers that I’m looking for.”

Archbishop Martin spoke as hundreds of people attended a yes vote rally in Dublin city centre yesterday to mark what they described as the “final countdown” before the May 22 referendum.

The event, organised by LGBT campaign group Noise and backed by teachers’ and students’ unions, took place in Merrion Square with host Tara Flynn telling the crowd that, despite polls still pointing towards a yes vote, the recent British elections shows polls can be wrong.

The event took place a day after Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin was asked to remove his yes vote badge live on air during an appearance on RTÉ’s The Saturday Night Show.

During an interview with the Labour TD on an unrelated topic, host Brendan O’Connor noticed the pin and asked for it to be removed in line with RTÉ’s balance protocols as a public service broadcaster.

When asked to remove the item, Mr O Riordain said “it’s a yes pin”, to which Mr O Connor replied: “You’ve just made it worse” before saying “no” to “balance” out the coverage.

READ MORE: VIDEO: TD asked to remove Yes Equality badge live on RTÉ chat show

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, said the proposed redefinition of marriage in the referendum will have a profound impact on the lives of the citizens of our country.

Bishop Leahy said the proposed “major shift” in the constitution will have implications for the role of marriage and family.

Outlining why he and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference cannot support the amendment, Bishop Leahy said the concern on the no side has to do with how the proposed redefinition of marriage will impact on society, on family life, and on children who, he said, have a right, except when this is not possible, to be raised by a mother and father.

In a letter read at Masses yesterday, Bishop Leahy said it is not easy to engage in dialogue about these issues.

However, reflecting on marriage, he said: “Marriage as an institution is under enormous pressure in the Western world.

“The forthcoming referendum is a call to Christians to rediscover the deep foundations of marriage based on the union of a man and a woman.”

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