Senior cleric in same-sex ceremony


A SENIOR Church of Ireland minister based in Co Carlow has confirmed he has entered into a civil partnership with his same-sex partner of 20 years.

Rev Tom Gordon Dean of Leighlin Cathedral said the ceremony took place at a registry office in July. Rev Gordon, originally from Portadown, Co Armagh, was speaking on BBC Northern Ireland radio yesterday.

Changing Attitude Ireland, a group of Church of Ireland members working for the affirmation of same-sex couples, has extended its congratulations to Rev Gordon.

“Dean Tom Gordon’s civil partnership is evidence of the growing visibility and acceptance of same-sex couples within the Church of Ireland,” group secretary Canon Charles Kenny said.“I know that many people in the Church of Ireland will join me in extending our congratulations to the dean and his civil partner.”

The partnership is believed to be the first involving a serving Church of Ireland cleric. It is understood there was a previous civil partnership involving a retired Church of Ireland minister. There have been several civil partnerships among clergy in the Church of England since British legislation on same-sex unions in 2005.

The Church of England requires serving ministers to affirm they will remain celibate in the partnerships. Its stance is that a person’s sexual orientation is “irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office”, but that someone involved “in a sexually active relationship outside marriage is not eligible for the episcopate or other ordained ministry”.

Rev Gordon is a former lecturer at the Church of Ireland theological college in Dublin and a co-ordinator of religious programmes involving the Protestant churches for RTÉ. He was installed as dean of the Cathedral of St Laserian, Leighlin, in the diocese of Cashel and Ossory last year.