Marriage Referendum: Joan Burton says referendum 'is not about religious marriage'
Burton says Catholic church stance on providing civil marriage is 'up to themselves'
Published 04/05/2015 | 15:01
LABOUR leader Joan Burton has said the forthcoming referendum is about changing civil marriage - and has no impact on religious marriage.
The Tanaiste was answering questions about comments made by the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh Dr Eamon Martin.
Dr Martin said the church would have to consider whether it would continue performing the civil part of wedding ceremonies if the voters endorse same-sex marriage in the referendum on May 22.Civil part of marriage in church 'clearly an issue' if we vote 'Yes'
Launching his party’s campaign for a Yes on May 22, the Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, said that “as a proud Catholic” he was voting “Yes” to gay marriage.
“I as a Catholic will vote ‘Yes’ on the basis of my informed conscience,” Mr Ryan told reporters.
Asked about the comments by Dr Martin, Mr Ryan cited comments by Pope Francis that the church was essentially made up of the people. He said that over time the church can change its stance in line with the views of its people.
Ms Burton, who as Social Protection Minister is responsible for marriage registration services, said whatever the Catholic Church wishes to do in relation to marriage ceremonies is a matter for the church.
The Archbishop was speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland programme when he said the church continuing with civil marriage in the event of a “Yes” clearly was an issue.
"We would have to look at legislation to see is it possible for us to continue to stand over our ministers being involved in civil ceremonies" he said.