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Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

DUBLIN, Ireland, May 21, 2015 ( — As the vote looms that will decide whether Ireland as a country will redefine marriage, the archbishop of Dublin is saying that while he intends to vote against same-sex “marriage,” he’s not telling other Catholics how to vote.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin would not comment when asked about the stance of those Catholics who would vote in favor of homosexual “marriage” in Friday’s referendum, stating through a spokesperson it was not his policy “to tell others how to vote.”

However the archbishop stressed “that people should be informed.”

“Archbishop Martin has publicly stated how he intends to vote and why,” his spokeswoman told the Irish Times. “It is not his policy, however, to tell others how to vote except to stress that, given the importance of marriage and the family, decisions should not be taken lightly and that people should be informed of what is involved.”

Archbishop Martin had stated he would be voting “No” in the referendum at a May 6 college address. At the time, he chided members of the Catholic media for claiming he had spread confusion about his view on the vote.

In the Irish Times this week, he wrote that as a bishop he had strong views on marriage “based on my religious convictions. I have, however, no wish to stuff my religious views down other people’s throats.”

Archbishop Martin also wrote that he had “no affiliation with any group of No campaigners. … I have said that I intend to vote No, yet there are those of the ecclesiastical right wing who accuse me of being in favour of a Yes vote, since I do not engage in direct condemnation of gay and lesbian men and women.”

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced the May 22 referendum, and his support for legal redefinition of marriage in the largely Catholic nation, back in February, saying at the time a “Yes” vote for homosexual “marriage” would project a “powerful signal” that Ireland had become a “fair, compassionate and tolerant nation.”

Pro-homosexual groups and individuals, and some government officials have been trying to force Ireland to redefine marriage for years, even threatening legal action against Northern Ireland for supposed human rights violation in having not recognized homosexual “marriage.”

With the May 22 referendum voters will decide whether to add a definition of marriage to the Irish constitution, specifically that, “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

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The public debate has been contentious in the months and weeks leading up to the referendum, at times with charges that homosexualists are intimidating natural marriage proponents. 

The Irish bishops have been advocating for the nation to uphold the true definition of marriage, but some, including Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, have also been criticized for sending mixed signals. A number of Irish priests have actually come out publicly in favor of marriage redefinition.

Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown told a radio talk show host this week he would “hate” to see people vote against marriage redefinition “for bigoted, nasty, bullying reasons,” and while he maintained legalizing homosexual “marriage” would be a “dangerous experiment,” he said ostensibly that Irish voters could vote either way in the referendum “in good conscience,” if they were as informed as possible before voting and were making a “mature decision.”

On the other hand, Armagh Archbishop Eamon Martin, president of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, warned that voting yes in favor of homosexual “marriage” would change the legal meaning of marriage in the country’s constitution and end up destroying religious freedom.

“If society adopts and imposes a ‘new orthodoxy’ of ‘gender-neutral’ marriage, being defined simply as a union between any two persons – including a man and a man, or a woman and woman – then it will become increasingly difficult to speak or teach in public about marriage as being between a man and a woman,” he said in a May 2 statement on the referendum.