(Lifesite News) A Northern Ireland government body has backtracked and apologized after writing to churches and asking them to state whether or not they will celebrate same-sex “weddings” while threatening that they would lose their status as marriage officiants for all weddings if they did not reply in less within a month.
The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019, the same piece of legislation that introduced new abortion laws into the region, has also legalized same-sex “marriage,” effective from January 13 of this year.
Same-sex “marriage” has been legal in the rest of the UK since 2013, but until this year had not been imposed on Northern Ireland.
And a number of Nothern Ireland churches recently received a letter from General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRO) asking them to complete a form detailing whether would officiate only weddings between people of the opposite sex or whether they would also officiate at so-called same-sex “weddings.”
“Although your church has officiants currently registered with the General Register Office to carry out opposite-sex marriages, I am writing to you so that we may update the officiant database with your church’s preferences for performing all types of marriages,” the July 17 letter stated.
The form also asked churches who agree to offer same-sex “weddings” to list the names and details of any of their officiants who would not carry out same-sex “marriage” ceremonies, but would continue to carry out opposite-sex marriage ceremonies.
“If we do not receive any response by this date, it will be assumed that you and other members of the church no longer wish to be registered as officiants for any type of marriage,” the letter continued.
“We will cancel the registrations on the officiant database accordingly, and you will not be able to carry out any marriage ceremonies in Northern Ireland.”
A number of churches, reportedly concerned by the intimidating tone and contents of the letter, contacted The Christian Institute for their help in responding to the letter…
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Editors Note. This post was written by Paul Smeaton and published at Lifesite News. Title changed by Pulpit & Pen