Government prejudged marriage referendum, says bishop

Government TDs should be asked to account for the coalition’s “arrogance” in seeking to speak for citizens in a way that is contrary to the Constitution, Bishop Kevin Doran has said.

The Bishop of Elphin, who stressed that he is expressing a personal view as a citizen, also accused the Government of trying to presume the outcome of the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage.

Writing on his personal Facebook page, Dr Doran took issue with how Ireland last June was one of 14 countries voting against a proposal on the protection of the family at the UN Human Rights Council.

Bishop Doran told The Irish Catholic that the proposal which Ireland voted against recognised that primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children lies with the family.

Describing the family as the natural environment for the growth and well-being of children, it reaffirmed how as the natural and fundamental group unit of society, the family is entitled to state protection.

Pointing out that article 41 of the constitution explicitly recognises the family as founded upon the institution of marriage, as society’s “natural primary and fundamental unit group”, Dr Doran said the State had a constitutional obligation to protect the family understood in this way, and to guard the institution of marriage. He questioned whether the Government’s opposition to the UN proposal was in accord with its constitutional duties.


Bishop Doran said the Government is “putting before the people a proposal to change the meaning of marriage in the Constitution”, and, in this context, he has concerns about what it says about the Government that “having decided to put the matter to the people, they already last year made a decision on behalf of the people against the Constitution, and in doing so prejudged the outcome of the referendum to change the meaning of marriage”.