“Homosexuality is wrong, just like rape and just like adultery,” Pastor Craig Ledbetter, who heads the Bible Baptist Church of Ballincollig in Cork, told the Irish Examiner last night.
Pastor Ledbetter justified the comparison on the grounds that he believed homosexual practice could never be truly consensual.
“We are dealing with at least one party believing he is right in what he is doing, so it is not really consensual. Two people can consent to commit adultery or consent to rob a bank, but that doesn’t make either of those things right.”
Pastor Ledbetter said he would be voting against the referendum as it involved an attempt to redefine marriage, which it had no right to do.
“If they want a sexual relationship they can get the blessing of the State but that should not amount to re- defining marriage which is exclusively the preserve of a man and a woman,” he said.
Pastor Ledbetter said he was concerned that his outspoken views might be used to help bring about a yes vote in the referendum which takes place on May 22.
“In a way, I am a bit worried that all I might have done is give more fodder to the Yes campaign. I have had a lot of phone calls, some in support of me and some against.”
While acknowledging that a referendum was an exercise in democracy, Pastor Ledbetter said that there has not been a fully informed national debate on the implications of the referendum, if it is passed.
“There has been a few fake TV debates but that’s about all,” he said.