Referendum debate without fear is needed
Published 04/05/2015 | 02:30
The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has made a welcome contribution to the debate on the same-sex referendum, which is now just 18 days away. Dr Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, says he has been asked for guidance on the issue.
Few people will be surprised to hear him clearly state that the church cannot support the amendment being proposed by the Government to extend the right of marriage to people of the same gender. The Archbishop says the Catholic Church retains the strong belief that marriage can only be between men and women open to having children. But Dr Martin's other point is of singular importance to the referendum process. He warns that some people feel constrained in raising doubt or debating arguments against the referendum proposition.
"How is it that many people won't even raise these issues in their families and workplaces for fear of being ridiculed or condemned as homophobic?" the Archbishop asks.
In times past, the Catholic Church was accused of stymieing debate on issues such as this. It would be reprehensible if the opposite were now to occur.
We need an open dialogue without any fear.