Church of Ireland set to vote on same-sex relationship motion

The Anglican Church in Ireland will debate a motion on same-sex relationships this week, calling on bishops to approve thanksgiving prayers for gay couples.

The Church's ruling general synod meets in Limerick and is likely to debate Dr Leo Kilroy's suggestion on Friday.


The private member's motion stops short of calling for a change in Church teaching. But it asks the synod to acknowledge 'the injury felt by members of the Church who enter into loving, committed and legally-recognised, same-sex relationships, due to the absence of provision for them to mark that key moment in their lives publicly and prayerfully in Church'.

It goes on to ask bishops to look into 'sensitive, local pastoral arrangements for public prayer and thanksgiving with same-sex couples'.

If approved the motion asks bishops to present their suggestions to the next annual synod meeting in 2018 but any proposals would not actually be approved until 2019 at the earliest.

It comes as GAFCON, a conservative grouping within the worldwide Anglican Communion, vowed to appoint a 'missionary bishop' for conservative Christians in the wake of what it sees as a liberalising trend in Anglican Churches.

The move bypasses traditional authorities such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which is set to approve a change in teaching on gay marriage next month.

The Church of Ireland shows no signs of following, with a motion passed in 2012 affirming the understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman.

But in the last three years it has formed a committee looking into sexuality. Although the committee itself has not tabled this motion, the proposer Dr Leo Kilroy and the seconder Rev Brian O'Rourke were members.