Northern Ireland needs more marriages – but not gay ones

Northern Ireland needs more marriages – but not gay ones August 3, 2018

At the beginning of 2018, Tracy Harkin, above, who heads a Christian think tank  – the Iona Institute Northern Ireland – lamented the fact that marriage was going down the plughole in the province.
One reason is that:

We tend to see marriage now as simply one more ‘lifestyle choice’ and we do not highlight its special importance to society and to children.

But same-sex marriage, she said this week, has no place in Northern Irish society (Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK in which same-sex marriage has not been legalised due to opposition from its largest party, the DUP.)
She was reacting to claims by a Catholic MP who said opponents of same-sex marriage reform risk alienating a generation in Northern Ireland.

Gerard “Ged” Killen, Labour MP from Glasgow, above, who is married to a man from Northern Ireland, said in a speech at the annual Amnesty International Pride lecture in Belfast on Thursday that:

Make no mistake. Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland will happen. Those who stand opposed risk alienating a generation. The children of future married same-sex couples, their friends and their families will not forgive nor forget those who stood in the way of equality.

But Harkin  said that Killen’s speech was an example of “very damaging information” as to why people are opposing the extension of same sex marriage to NI.
She insisted:

This is not an equality issue. This is whether or not we still need civil marriage as a social intuition and for the good of children, and in particular I think we do. It’s been very frustrating to hear these constant accusations of homophobia or being anti-equality and I think that needs to stop.

While Harkin rejected Killen’s opinion, she acknowledged that the gay marriage debate in NI has had a negative effect on those who support it.

That’s an awful message to be hearing because I think it further marginalises an already marginalised community.

She called on the Christian community to be better at articulating the reasons why same-sex marriage would be a bad idea.

Children should have a recognisable mother and father that should be involved in their upbringing and that’s the real reason why marriage as a social institution exists. Moral understanding shouldn’t come into this discussion.
In the public arena we’re talking about civil marriage, so as Christians we need to focus on the common good of marriage. People don’t care if they’re not Christians  … but they do care about the common good and how it effects children.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Robert

    Religion Poisons Everything. A seemingly seemingly over exaggerated assertion but which has the actual merit of being true.

  • Angela_K

    “Christian think tank” That is a classic oxymoron. Harkin brings up the usual nonsense about children needing a male and female to bring them up “properly” and the old lifestyle choice nonsense about being LGBT. These religious nuts refuse to see that their way of life is incompatible with the 21st century with fewer people opting for religious marriages. In Scotland, Humanists marriages now out number religious: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/humanist-weddings-overtake-church-of-scotland-ceremonies-1-4777088

  • L.Long

    Marriage is a civil contract to protect both parties and give them specific benefits. And these marriages should be allowed between any consenting adults..PERIOD!!!
    Religious marriage is an evil farce that gives males permission to treat the women as they see fit, and thru history has been nothing more than woman control and allows males to do as they wish..ref heneri the ateth!
    Religious marriage right now is mostly window dressing and has no real meaning.

  • barriejohn

    I wonder whether she’s thinking of marriages like that of stalwart Northern Ireland politicians, fanatical fundamentalists, and fellow homophobes, the Robinsons? (Covered on this site at the time, so all “Mrs Robinson” jokes have been done already!)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_Robinson
    Certainly a lesson to us all.

  • StephenJP

    Touch of deja-vu here. I recall all these tired old tropes being wheeled out yonks ago in GB. They were on the wrong side of the argument then, and they will be in future.
    In a few years’ time there may be a majority in NI for union with the South. Whatever will the hardline Prods do then? Given the speed at which the Republic is evolving, they could end up in a more secular state than the UK.

  • Tony A

    Have to hand it to her, she looks a nice bit of crumpet. Pity the Christian crap she comes out with spoils it all…..

  • Stuart H.

    Iona would presumably be pronounced ‘I own her’.
    That’s Christian thinking all right.