TCD Seminar on Marriage Equality: The Religious Case for a Yes Vote

FAITH IN MARRIAGE EQUALITY 1_0032 group photo 3 men, 2 women, holding banner

From Left to Right: Rabbi Kris McDaniel-Miccio, Prof. Linda Hogan, Dr Richard O’Leary, Bishop Michael Burrows, Canon Ginnie Kennerley Photo: Tommy Clancy


Yesterday, Saturday 11th April,  at 11 am, Faith in Marriage Equality and Linda Horgan, Professor of Ecumenics at Trinity College, hosted a half day seminar to argue the case for marriage equality. The seminar was on Marriage Equality: The Religious Case for a Yes Vote, and was held at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College, Dublin.

At the conference, faith leaders and groups highlighted support for a Yes vote in the Marriage Equality Referendum on May 22nd.

The speakers included:

Professor Linda Hogan, Professor of Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin, The Rev Canon Ginnie Kennerley, Doctorate in Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary,  Professor Kris McDaniel-Miccio, Professor of law at the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver and Visiting Professor at Trinity College Law School and the Long Room Hub, Bishop Michael Burrows,bishop of Cashel Ferns and Ossory since 2006, prior to that, Dean of Cork and, in the early 90s, Church of Ireland chaplain to TCD, and Dr Richard O’Leary, who obtained his D.Phil in 1998 from Oxford University for his study of Catholic-Protestant intermarriage. He has held academic appointments at the ESRI, Oxford and Queen’s University Belfast. He is Chairperson of Changing Attitude Ireland and a co-founder of Faith in Marriage Equality. The seminar was chaired by The Rev Dr Celia G. Kenny (Church of Scotland) a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Edinburgh University and the University of Cardiff, who is also a researcher, writer and editor in the field of Law and Religion. .

Speaking before the seminar, Professor Hogan said:

“Theologically speaking, there are no impediments to gay and lesbian people marrying in a civil ceremony. People of faith can exercise their freedom of conscience to vote yes to lesbian and gay people marrying in a civil ceremony.

“This debate is being framed as religious people being no voters, with everyone else voting yes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People of all faiths support sharing the freedom to marry with gay and lesbian couples.

The Christian tradition affirms the fundamental equality and dignity of all people, whether we are heterosexual or gay. Faith leaders should not marginalise or exclude people who are gay rather they should promote equality and inclusion.”

Professor Hogan, a theological ethicist,  also stated during the seminar that there was “no doubt that compulsory heterosexuality has shaped western culture to a profound degree and we are only beginning to see the contours of a different understanding of sexuality starting to emerge”.

Bishop Burrows, who was looking at marriage equality through the lens of Anglican moral theology and liturgy, stated:

“The call for same sex marriage is a logical and timely development in the march of law reform and equality; this is not something which is being proposed because of the raucous demands of a few; rather it stems from a long tradition of using law to explore the implications of equality and fairness”.

Bishop Burrows also said that the inability to procreate should not be taken to diminish in any way the quality of the marriage bond, and that:

…we are in the position to be (or not) the first European democracy to introduce same sex marriage by way of referendum. If we do so, it will not simply be because of some whim or fashion or improper pressure – it will be in the context of a long saga of law reform in pursuit of equality….


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