Methodist Church in Ireland: E.4 Marriage, sexual relationships and sexuality

We recognise the family as the primary unit in society and all possible encouragement is given to ministers and congregations to support and strengthen family life. Marriage is a relationship, intended as permanent, between one man and one woman within which sexual intercourse establishes a unique intimacy. A loving marriage relationship is seen as the only appropriate relationship within which sexual intercourse may take place. The church advocates responsible family planning, with the use of contraception. Modern scientific knowledge has no uniform view about the factors involved in sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. What is recognised is their complexity. In keeping with New Testament teaching, we are opposed to all debased forms of sexuality and sexual practice, whether heterosexual or homosexual. However, we plead for understanding and tolerance for those whose sexual orientation is towards those of their own gender. We encourage the Church to give a greater lead in the education of society, including Christians, regarding this issue, so that ignorance, prejudice and fear may disappear.