Words: Steve Brown
Religious ministers have written a letter opposing a new Pride parade in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland was the only part of the UK that did not recognise same-sex marriages as well as banning abortion except when a mother’s life is at risk.
However, last year, LGBTQ citizens across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK celebrated as marriage equality and abortion rights arrived in Northern Ireland.
More than six years after legislation was passed in England and Wales allowing LGBTQ people to marry the person they love, the UK can finally say that it has marriage equality for all.
Back in July, Westminster Parliament backed marriage equality in Northern Ireland and voted that it would be introduced to the country by as early as October, unless there is a power-sharing executive formed at Stormont.
And on Monday (January 13), same-sex couples were able to register to marry.
However, it appears religious bigots in Northern Ireland are continuing their campaign against the LGBTQ community after it was announced last week that the first ever Pride parade is set to be hosted in the Mid-Ulster area this summer.
The parade is being organised by Coalisland Church of Ireland rector Rev Andrew Rawding, who has been an outspoken supporter of the LGBTQ community.
But now, Free Presbyterian ministers from the area have written a letter opposing the Pride parade saying thatthat “a sad, stark and significant choice has been forced upon the people of Mid-Ulster – will they accept and perhaps even support the reported forthcoming ‘Rural Pride’ event, or will they follow the teachings of Jesus Christ?”
They continued and said that, "For almost two millennia, the entirety of Christendom accepted that Jesus Christ – and all the Scriptures – taught that homosexuality was sinful” and despite “much misinformation… the truth of God’s Word remains unchanged.”
The letter was signed by six reverends from across Mid-Ulster.
Rev Rawding responded to the letter saying: “We all want to be loving, but with humility we need to accept that even with our best intentions, LGBTQ people have felt hated by the language of sin, and some are filled with such self hatred and rejection that they have taken their lives.”