Sister Stan to vote Yes for gay marriage as it's a 'human right'
A DUBLIN priest has become the latest Catholic cleric to reveal they will be voting 'Yes' in the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum.
Fr Gerry O'Connor of the Cherry Orchard parish near Ballyfermot has been vocal on his views on the matter on social media.
He joins Sister Stanislaus Kennedy on the 'Yes' side of the debate, despite six of the country's bishops making public statements recently arguing against any change to the Constitution and strongly supporting a 'No' vote.
"The pursuit of the common good is central to Catholicism and I believe that a 'Yes' vote is pro common good," said Fr O'Connor on Twitter today.
He has also been critical of the way the surrogacy debate has been woven into the public debate on the referendum, saying it has a narrow focus and "suggests that surrogacy is only a gay-related issue".
Fr O'Connor also revealed that he has been called a traitor to Christ by a 'No' campaigner.
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, or Sr Stan as she is better known, has said she is going to vote 'Yes' in recognition of the gay community as full members of society.
"I have thought a lot about this. They should have an entitlement to marry. It is a civil right and a human right," she said.
Sr Stan 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.
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.