Sister Stan to vote Yes for gay marriage as it's a 'human right'
SISTER Stanislaus Kennedy has revealed she will vote Yes in the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum.
"I have thought a lot about this. I am going to vote Yes in recognition of the gay community as full members of society. They should have an entitlement to marry. It is a civil right and a human right," she said.
Sr Stan, as she is fondly known, lectures on social issues and policies, and has been a member of the congregation of Religious Sisters of Charity since 1958.
"I have a big commitment to equality for all members of society. It's what my life has been all about," the 75-year-old said.
Catholic Church leaders have strongly supported a No vote in the upcoming referendum. Six of the country's bishops made public statements recently arguing against any change to the Constitution.
However, the position taken by Sr Stan has been welcomed by the Yes Equality campaign.
Spokesperson Grainne Healy said Sr Stan is a highly respected public figure in Ireland and her thoughtful reflection on this important issue is warming and uplifting.
"Sr Stan recognises that a Yes vote on May 22 underpins the journey towards full equality for lesbian and gay people," Ms Healy said.
She said that Sr Stan joins a line of "thoughtful, committed and compassionate Catholics" who have given affirmation to lesbian and gay people in Ireland and are staunchly supporting a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum
"The Irish people, the majority of whom are Catholic, have consistently shown in polls over a number of years their support for marriage equality for lesbian and gay people," Ms Healy added.
"The campaign reiterates the distinction between Church and civil marriage.
"A Yes in the referendum will not in any way affect religious marriage, nor compel churches to marry lesbian and gay couples, in much the same way since the introduction of divorce, the Roman Catholic Church has not been compelled to marry divorced people in their religious ceremonies."
Meanwhile, a Galway parish priest has also revealed he will vote in favour of the referendum
Fr Padraig Standun, parish priest of Carna in Connemara, said he believes it's the right thing to do now.
"It's time that gay people had the same rights as everyone else," he said in an interview on the lunchtime news on RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta.
He also said that the Church now has an opportunity to prepare a new liturgy for same-sex couples, or others who cannot marry in the church for other reasons - for example, if they have been divorced - who wish to receive a blessing.
"The Church has made statements saying that they respect all people - gay or straight. This is a way for them to show that this is true." he said.