Belfast Telegraph: ‘Breathing space’ call in row over gay clergy

By Alf McCreary

THE Church of Ireland Gazette is calling for “breathing space” in the row over gay clergy.

The call follows the revelation that the openly gay Dean of Leighlin, Tom Gordon, entered into a same-sex civil partnership in July.

The Gazette, edited by Canon Ian Ellis, stated in its editorial that while civil partnership is not a marriage, “and does not necessarily involve same-sex sexual expression, there is a very wide perception that it is a form of gay marriage, and perceptions are often as important as facts”.

The paper added: “Differing views on this subject have co-existed in a relatively settled way in the Church of Ireland during the inter-Anglican debate over recent years, but what has now developed jeopardises that situation.

“While those on one side see an advance for gay rights in the Church, those on the other side feel that there has been an unacceptable, unilateral move.

“The Church now needs a breathing space, and the relevant bodies should be allowed the opportunity to reflect.”

Meanwhile, the pro-gay group, Changing Attitude Ireland, has strongly attacked the four conservative evangelical and charismatic groups within the Church who have been critical of Dean Gordon.

It said: “The intrusive public questioning of Dean Gordon’s private life in the two statements displayed incredible arrogance and poor taste.

“It also displayed un-Christlike double standards.

“It is inconceivable that the private life of any other clergyperson in the Church of Ireland would be subject to such impertinent prurience.”