'Law will force Church gay marriage'

Published Friday, 13 July 2012
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A senior Orangeman has warned that if a proposal to make gay marriage legal goes forward, the church will be forced to carry out same-sex ceremonies.

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Speaking at the annual re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne in Scarva, Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, Millar Farr warned that "militant secularism is repressing the Christian viewpoint".

The main concern raised in his speech was the legalisation of same-sex marriage, which he argued would force the Church to comply with carrying out ceremonies for fear of breaking the law.

"Recently a Government Minister said that Churches or establishments which presently conduct weddings would not be forced to comply with such legislation if it is enacted," he said.

"The Minister has lost touch with reality, for once such weddings are accepted in law and participants are refused a Church ceremony, how long will it be before that decision is tested in the European Court.

"If and when that occurs we all know what the ruling will be, the Church concerned will be in breach of the law and will undoubtedly be directed to comply with the request to carry out the ceremony."

The grand master's speech also commemorated the upcoming centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The annual event remembers when William of Orange and 30,000 of his men camped in the Co Down village on the way to the 1690 Battle of the Boyle near Drogheda against King James and his army.

Thousands of tourists flock to see the 'sham fight' recreate the battle with re-enactors in full costume.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson were also at the event.

"I've been here on a number of occasions as Minister for Tourism because what a spectacle it is at Scarva every year," Ms Foster said.

"One hundred thousand people come out to enjoy Scarva and the weather here of course is just making it even better."

"I must have walked past at least 25,000 people going right down the hill, I saw four police officers who were just chatting to the locals," Mr Paterson said.

"I think this is typical of the 4,000 parades that take place right across Northern Ireland and bring huge pleasure to very large numbers of people, an integral part of the culture of Northern Ireland."

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11 Comments
James Doyle in Canada wrote (640 days ago):
Canada has has same sex marriage for eight years and it is not allowed in a church except when the church agrees. Mr Farr please quit your scaremongering!
gerard in belfast wrote (641 days ago):
i struggle to see anything other than sectarianism or, dare i say even racism, came from the battle of the boyne.
Frosty in Here wrote (641 days ago):
Quote "Millar Farr warned that "militant secularism is repressing the Christian viewpoint"." Unquote. I thought Christ was against violence, yet 30,000 so called Christians march every year to pretend to die in a battle fought centuries ago, celebrate the bloodshed and have the audacity to call it culture and themselves Christians. "These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" - Matthew 15:8
EM in North Antrim wrote (643 days ago):
@ Eamonn Andrews maybe you should get your facts right have you not heard of the orange lodges in Ghana and Toga.It certainly is not true that someone cannot join the orange order due to the colour of their skin.
Max in Belfast wrote (643 days ago):
I think this is classic scare mongering. Im a Christian, but I don't believe I have the right to deny others the right to get married. Northern Ireland is changing, I don't think inclusiveness of Catholics and Protestants is the pressing issue anymore... We have to have an inclusive society of all people who come under the umbrella term 'Northern Irish'
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