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Archbishops Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Eamon Martin of Armagh

May 6, 2015 ( — Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, has warned that a yes vote in the upcoming same-sex “marriage” referendum will change the meaning of marriage in the Constitution of Ireland and result in the destruction of 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,” Archbishop Martin said in a statement on the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference website.

“Will there be lawsuits against individuals and groups who do not share this vision? What will we be expected to teach children in school about marriage or about homosexual acts? Will those who continue to sincerely believe that marriage is between a man and a woman be forced to act against their faith and conscience?” the archbishop speculated.

Archbishop Martin noted that supporters of the true meaning of marriage have already been treated with derision by “yes” activists who brand them as equality-denying bigots and “homophobes.”

“How have we got ourselves into the situation that when people stand up to guard the dignity of difference between a man and woman, and speak for the traditional definition of marriage, they are often portrayed as being against freedom, or against equality?”

“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? Could we not expect at least some of our legislators to engage in public discussion on both sides of this debate?” said Archbishop Martin.

The archbishop observed that, “during the current debate we are conscious of same-sex partners who love each other and wish to share their life together.”

However, he pointed out that, “marriage is about much more than a loving relationship between consenting adults. Marriage has another essential element – the openness to children who are born of the love and sexual relationship of their mother and father. This is why, as Article 41:3:1 of the Constitution puts it: The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.”

He explained that the State encourages and favors the marriage of a man and a woman, open to children, because it is for the common good.

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“It not only satisfies individual love and needs, but it also ensures the future of society and forms the ideal environment for the development of children.”

Archbishop Martin stated emphatically that the Irish bishops in no way support the amendment to the Constitution to redefine marriage.

He quoted the teaching of the Catholic Church on the issue of same-sex unions as reiterated by the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome, 2014, which states, “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

He added that, at the same time, the Church stresses that homosexual people ought always to be treated with respect and sensitivity.

The archbishop called for “everyone to reflect and pray carefully about these issues before voting,” and concluded that it is very important to vote, without being “afraid to speak up courageously for the union of a man and a woman in marriage.”

The referendum takes place on May 22nd.

The full text of Archbishop Martin's message on the marriage referendum is available here.


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