President of Methodist Church of Ireland responds to same-sex marriage vote

Rev Peter Murray

Rev Peter Murray

As President of the Methodist Church in Ireland I want to comment on the result of the Irish referendum on equal marriage which has opened civil marriage to same-sex couples.

The Methodist Church encouraged everyone to listen to each other respectfully in the church and in wider society, and in doing so, to seek the will of God and the good of society as they took part in the referendum. I recognise that our members will have voted both Yes and No and I affirm the prayerfully and carefully considered views of all who voted.
I ask now that grace be extended mutually between those who disagree on this issue. It is clear that prejudice, largely born out of ignorance and fear, exists against members of the LGBT community, but this does not mean that those who voted No in the referendum want to endorse inequality, restrict freedom or maintain intolerance. I strongly urge Methodist families, small groups and larger fellowships to be safe places where LGBT people feel accepted and loved, able to share their stories freely and be involved in the life of the church.
At the same time the referendum result is not compatible with what the Methodist Church in Ireland recognises as the basis of Christian marriage. Our understanding is that marriage is between a man and a woman and so in the context of weddings within Methodist churches our practice remains that no minister has the authority to conduct the marriage of same-sex partners.
As the government of the Republic of Ireland seeks to frame legislation in response to the result of the referendum I call on it to ensure that church and other faith bodies will not be compelled by law to act contrary to their definition of marriage and I expect the government to engage with the Methodist Church and other churches and faith communities to this end.
Rev Peter Murray


  1. William T says

    CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE vs civil marriage, the new norm.. Could be here (USA) nationwide soon. Note, Rev Murray has the faith and the courage to state the position of the Methodist Church in Ireland unequivocally. May God bless him. General Conference 2016 would be wise to take a lesson in courage and faith here from our cousin church. Also, Rev Murray is concerned about coming Irish legislation and how it could impact orthodox Christian churches there — a most legitimite concern for them — and possibly a grave First Amendment concern for American orthodox Christians.

  2. The telling sentence for Rev. Murray is “It is clear that prejudice, largely born out of ignorance and fear, exists against members of the LGBT community,” The Scriptures are clear and in Acts Chptr 8 a Simon believed and was baptized. Peter rejected his belief because his heart was not right in the sight of God. People of the Pew know what is right in the sight of God. They are not ignorant and fearful of LGBT. These people are only fearful of God. Peter was not prejudiced against Simon. Accountability to one’s oath of office, Church, and to follow its doctrine is what it is all about, and to God.

  3. David Goudie says

    I appreciate Rev. Peter Murray’s thoughtful comments. I share many of the same concerns that he addresses. For I too wonder if the reaction of the Government may be to go even farther and attempt to compel Pastor’s against their beliefs to conduct same sex marriages. This is also a concern I have in relation to the upcoming the US Supreme court decision in June, and how that may impact following decisions as well. I will be praying and watching closely the coming days of both Ireland’s government and the US’s Government.

    Thank you again though to Rev. Murray for addressing this and stating firmly UM church in Ireland’s stance of defining marriage as between a man and a woman… and for standing firm on God’s Word, and following the Discipline. .

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